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ASSISTED BY F.Th. DIJKEMA (pp. 1-384), P.J. BEARMAN (pp. 385-1058) AND Mme S. NURIT 






Members: C.E. Bosworth, J.T.P. de Bruijn, A. Dias Farinha, E. van Donzel, J. van Ess, F. Gab 
E. Garcia Gomez, W.P. Heinrichs, A.K.S. Lambton, G. Lecomte, T. Lewicki, B. Lewis, R. Man 
F. Meier, the late Ch. Pellat, F.H. Pruijt, F. Rosenthal, F. Rundgren, A.L. Udovitch. 

Associated members: Haul Inalcik, Ibrahim Madkour, S.H. Nasr, M. Talbi, E. Tyan. 

The preparation of this volume of the Encyclopaedia of Islam was made possible 
in part through grants from the Research Tools Program of the National Endow- 
ment for the Humanities, an independent Federal Agency of the United States 
Government; the British Academy; the Oriental Institute, Leiden; Academie des 
Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres; and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences 

The articles in this volume were published in double fascicules of 128 pages, the dates of publication being: 
1991: Fascs. 115-122, pp. 1-512 1992: Fascs. 123-130, pp. 513-1058 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data 

(Revised for vol. 7) 

The Encyclopaedia of Islam. 

Issued in parts. 

Includes separately issued, cumulative supplements. 

Includes bibliographies, and indexes issued separately 
and updated periodically. 

1. Islam — Dictionaries. 2. Islamic countries — Dic- 
tionaries and encyclopedias. I. Gibb, H. A. R. 
(Hamilton Alexander Rosskeen), Sir, 1895-1971, ed. 
DS37.E523 956 '.003 61-4395 

ISBN 90 04 09419 9 

© Copyright 1993 by E.J. Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or translated in 

any form, by print, photoprint, microfilm or any other means without written 

permission from the publisher. 



For the benefit of readers who may wish to follow up an individual contributor's articles, the Editors have decid- 
ed to list after each contributor's name the pages on which his signature appears. Academic but not other ad- 
dresses are given (for a retired scholar, the place of his last known academic appointment). 

In this list, names in square brackets are those of authors of articles reprinted or revised from the first edition 
of this Encyclopaedia or from the Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam. An asterisk after the name of the author in the 
text denotes an article reprinted from the first edition which has been brought up to date by the Editorial Com- 
mittee; where an article has been revised by a second author his name appears within square brackets after the 
name of the original author. 

A. Abdesselem, University of Tunis. 437, 452 
Feroz Ahmad, University of Massachusetts. 526 
Hamid Algar, University of California, Berkeley. 

763, 871, 934, 936, 937 
M. Athar Ali, Aligarh Muslim University. 323, 574, 

592, 600, 632 
[J. Allan, London]. 133, 221 
R.M.A. Allen, University of Pennsylvania, 

Philadelphia. 815 
the to Joan Allgrove. 57 
A. Amanat, Yale University. 1005 
Edith G. Ambros, University of Vienna. 24, 840, 

905, 917, 1054 
P. A. Andrews, University of Cologne. 2, 140, 194, 

354, 550 
Sarah Ansari, Royal Holloway College. 356 
A. Arazi, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 540, 842, 

A. Arioli, University of Rome. 581 
M. Arkoun, University of Paris. 144 
R. Arnaldez, University of Paris. 467 
KhalIl ^thamina, Birzeit University. 868 
A. Ayalon, Tel Aviv University. 916 
[F. Babinger, Munich]. 7, 35, 906, 1030, 1034 
J.L. Bacharach, University of Washington, Seattle. 

C. Bailey, Tel Aviv University. 921 

M.A. Bakhit, University of Jordan, Amman. 463 

Cicdem Balim, University of Manchester. 1054 

the late A.S. Bazmee Ansari. 446 

[C.H. Becker, Berlin]. 152 

[N.A. Bees, Athens]. 218 

A.F.L. Beeston, Oxford. 705 

M.A.J. Beg, University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur. 

[F. Beguinot]. 894, 895 

Doris Behrens-Abouseif, Universities of Bamberg 
and Munich. 506, 511 

J.E. Bencheikh, University of Paris. 103, 393, 404 

[M. Bencheneb, Algiers], 759, 824, 826 

Marie Bernand, Centre National de la Recherche 
Scientifique, Paris. 257 

[E. Berthels]. 439, 442, 478, 481, 557, 707, 864, 
926, 975, 1006, 1047, 1053 

[A. Beveridge]. 127, 557 

Th. Bianquis, University of Lyon. 123, 652 

J.R. Blackburn, University of Toronto. 270, 445, 
720, 721, 762, 779, 780, 912, 996 

[Tj. de Boer, Amsterdam], 1034 

C.E. Bosworth, University of Manchester. 21, 26, 
35, 61, 93, 94, 115, 138, 145, 146, 188, 189, 192, 
212, 218, 221, 258, 269, 273, 291, 327, 358, 390, 
404, 407, 408, 413, 433, 439, 457, 477, 501, 507, 
508, 542, 543, 557, 575, 580, 583, 602, 608, 628, 
652, 653, 663, 664, 666, 671, 678, 679, 719, 723, 
724, 754, 776, 777, 794, 799, 800, 801, 807, 822, 
845, 861, 869, 898, 909, 918, 923, 926, 957, 960, 
965, 966, 967, 984, 988, 1009, 1015, 1016, 1034, 
1045, 1047, 1048, 1050 

[H. Bowen, London]. 575, 995, 1018 

Y. Bregel, Indiana University, Bloomington. 575 

Barbara Brend, London. 340 

[C. Brockelmann, Halle]. 445, 470, 634, 1041 

A. Brockett, Durham University. 562 

J.T.P. de Bruijn, University of Leiden. 478, 53] 

663, 944, 1017 
[F. Buhl, Copenhagen]. 61, 66, 389, 403, 649, 757, 

825, 943 
R.M. Burrell, University of London. 282, 432, 464, 

655, 819 
J. Burton, University of St. Andrews. 475, 669, 

1012, 1029 
J. Burton-Page, Church Knowle, Dorset. 8( 

113, 129, 131, 132, 135, 142, 195, 204, 289 

346, 680, 898, 910, 926, 933, 943, 947, 957, 965, 

H. Busse, University of Kiel. 295, 485 
J. Calmard, Centre Nationale de la Recherche Scien 

tifique, Paris. 20, 225, 304 
[E.E. Calverley, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 

Hartford, Conn.]. 883 
P. Chalmeta, University of Saragossa. 192, 249, 

289, 591, 808 
A. Chenoufi, University of Tunis. 719 
W.C. Chittick, State University of New York, Stony 

Brook. 476 
V. Christides, University of Ioannina, Athens. 46, 


Cohen, Hebrew 


ity, Jerusalem 



Collin Davies]. 

548, 8 


tricia Crone, Un 


of Cambridge 




Dachraoui, Univ 

ersity of Tunis. 489 


Daiber, Free Un 
605, 1052 


, Amsterdam. 



M.T. Danesh Pa|uh 

, Tehr 

n. 132 


David, Eotvos Lo 


niversity, Budapest. 



R. Deladriere, University of Lyon. 465 
Anne-Marie Delcambre, University of Paris. 61 
[J. Deny, Paris]. 473, 678, 733 
A. Dietrich, University of Gottingen. 58, 143, 556, 

S. Digby, Rozel, Jersey. 189 
M. Djebli, University of Paris. 904 
C.H. Dodd, University of London. 189 
F.M. Donner, University of Chicago. 797, 825 
E. van Donzel, Leiden. 236, 290, 497, 516, 864 
Trude Ehlert, University of Bonn. 387 
H. Eisenstein, University of Vienna. 279 
N. Elisseeff, University of Lyon. 947 
P.G. Emery, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat. 838 
W. Ende, University of Freiburg im Breisgau. 294, 

Nuket Esen, Bogazici University, Istanbul. 255, 469 
J. van Ess, University of Tubingen. 975, 1058 
T. Fahd, University of Strasbourg. 558, 565, 838, 

920, 960, 1012 
[Bichr Fares, Cairo]. 310, 638 
[H.G. Farmer, Glasgow], 191, 210, 518, 611, 671 
Suraiya Faroqhi, University of Munich. 350, 472 


, Beiri 

C.V. Findley, Ohio State University, Columbus. 

466, 468, 521, 547, 775 
W. Fischer, University of Erlangen-NQrnberg. 262 
A. Fisher, Michigan State University. 713 
Carol G. Fisher, Kresge Art Museum, Michigan 

State University, East Lansing. 931, 932 
M. Fleischhammer, University of Halle. 561 
A.D.W. Forbes, Watton-at-Stone, Hertfordshire. 81 
G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville, York. 35, 80, 213, 227, 

246, 250, 839, 1048 
P. Freimark, Institut fur Geschichte der deutschen 

Juden, Hamburg. 496 
Y. Friedmann, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 405, 

[C. Funck-BrentanoJ. 39 
Teresa Garulo, University 
G.J.H. van Gelder, Univ. 

H. Gerber, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 508, 667 
[H.A.R. Gibb, Harvard], 602, 725, 732, 915 
D. Gimaret, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 

Paris. 55, 781, 793 
M. Glunz, University of Bonn. 964 

F. Muge Gocek, University of Michigan. 517, 545, 
551, 653, 665 

J. Golmohammadi, London. 79 

D.F. Graf, University of Miami. 835 

[A. Grohmann, Vienna]. 540, 866 

A.H. deGroot, University of Leiden. 597, 599, 601, 

J.G.J, ter Haar, University of Leiden. 443 

U. Haarmann, University of Freiburg im Breisgau. 
141, 177, 727 

[T.W. Haig, London], 105, 279, 410, 458, 459 

Abdul-Hadi Hairi, University of Ferdowsi, 
Mashhad. 95, 919, 961 

Margaret Hall, London. 337 

H. Halm, University of Tubingen. 164, 165, 544 

Abdelhamid Saleh Hamdan, University of Greno- 
ble. 2, 350, 565 

A.P. Hamori, Princeton University. 528 

Angelika Hartmann, University of Wurzburg. 481, 
541, 818 

[W. Hartner, Frankfurt]. 87, 490, 680, 795, 1054 

Mohibbul Hasan, Aligarh. 130 

A. Havemann, Free University, Berlin. 927 

G. R. Hawtinc, University of London. 393, 401, 

J.A. Haywood, Lewes, East Sussex. 97, 475, 535, 

556, 670, 846, 989 
[W. Heffening, Bonn]. 636, 759, 822, 969, 1042 
J. den Heijer, University of Leiden. 305 
P. Heine, University of MQnster. 840 
W.P. Heinrichs, Harvard University, Cambridge, 

Mass. 278, 492, 782, 808 
[B. Heller, Budapest]. 639, 953 
C.J. Heywood, University of London. 712, 713 
D.R. Hill, Great Bookham, Surrey. 40, 641, 1037 
Carole Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh. 480, 

727, 729, 735, 756 
R. Hillenbrand, University of Edinburgh. 660 
the late M. Hinds, University of Cambridge. 6, 268 
J. P. Hogendijk, University of Utrecht. 1050 

B. Holmberg, University of Lund. 1033 

P.M. Holt, Oxford. 180, 192, 272, 420, 723, 729, 

D. Hopwood, University of Oxford. 446, 905 

J. Horovitz. 100 

[M. Hidayet Hosain]. 93, 278, 405, 433, 442, 443, 

444, 457, 458, 722, 764, 801 
R.S. Humphreys, University of California, Santa 

Barbara. 274, 580, 991 
J.O. Hunwick, Northwestern University. 394, 436 
C.H. Imber, University of Manchester. 225, 645 
B. Ingham, University of London. 783 
Riazul Islam, Karachi. 320 
P. Jackson, University of Keele. 412, 822, 974 
P. Jackson, S.J., St. Xavier's School, Patna, India. 

RenateJacobi, University of the Saar, Saarbriicken. 

308, 516, 983 
J.J.G. Jansen, University of Leiden. 292, 396, 421, 

439, 555 
G.H.A. Juynboll, The Hague. 33, 213, 259, 261, 

576, 631, 663, 692, 707, 726, 877 
Barbara Kellner-Heinkele, University of Berlin. 

H. Kennedy, University of St. Andrews. 162, 396, 

760, 766, 778, 801 
Zafarul-Islam Khan. Institute of Islamic and Arabic 

Studies, New Delhi. 422, 678, 849, 875, 876, 1049 
R.G. Khoury, University of Gottingen. 284 
~ V King, University of Frankfurt. 32, 211 
G.R.D. King, University of London. 892 
M.J. Kister, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 572 
J. Knappert, Barnet, Herts. 103, 104, 657 
Ebba Koch, Vienna. 336, 796 
M. Kohbach, University of Vienna. 917 
E. Kohlberg, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 400, 

461, 649, 691, 906 
M.A. Kohler, Carthage, Tunisia. 564 
J.L. Kraemer, Tel Aviv University. 1044 
M. Kramer, Tel Aviv University. 765 
[J.H. Kramers, Leiden]. 290, 573, 594, 595, 707, 

708, 709, 710, 721, 794 
[I. Kratschkowsky, Leningrad]. 695, 1040 
[P. Kraus, Cairo], 732 
"r.S. van Krieken, Haarlem. 435 
Lemke Kruk, University of Leiden. 834 
'. Kunitzsch, University of Munich. 87 
Junay Kut, Bogazici University, Istanbul. 532 
M. Kutukoglu, University of Istanbul. 965 
A.K.S. Lambton, Kirknewton, Northumberland. 

457, 930 
[H. Lammens, Beirut], 347, 694, 769 
J.M. Landau, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 253, 

Ella Landau-Tasseron, Hebrew University, 

Jerusalem. 631 
J.D. Latham, University of Edinburgh. 312, 492, 

519, 642, 672, 1028, 1057 
A. Layish, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 113 
G. Lecomte, Institut National des Langues et 

Civilisations Orientales, Paris. 255, 401, 409, 922 
[G.E. Leeson]. 989 

[G. Levi Della Vida, Rome]. 124, 464, 582, 592 
[E. Levi-Provencal, Paris]. 127, 212, 634, 644, 761, 

767, 776, 816, 989, 1008 
[R. Levy]. 88 
T. Lewicki, Cracow. 187 
I.M. Lewis, London School of Economics and 

Political Science. 390 
the late Ilse Lichtenstadter, Cambridge, Mass. 306, 

402, 732, 759, 977 
T.O. Ling, Singapore University. 633 
P. Luft, University of Manchester. 675 
R.D. McChesney, New York University. 849 
[D.B. Macdonald, Hartford, Conn.]. 640 
D. MacEoin, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. 422, 423, 441, 

548, 921 

:y of London. 638, 866, 

K.S. McLachlan, Uni 

W. Madelung, University of Oxford. 313, 348, 397, 

518, 546, 607, 773 
A. Mango, University of London. 573 
Beatrice Forbes Manz, Tufts University, Medford, 

Mass. 105, 127 
[G. Marcais, Algiers]. 722, 994 
U. Marzolph, Enzyklopadie des Marchens, Got 

tingen, 1020 
[L. Massignon, Paris]. 468, 1044 
Julie S. Meisami, University of Oxford. 490, 536 
[Th. Menzel]. 24, 272, 479, 1054, 1055, 1056 

[M. Meyerhof, Cairo]. 716 

[V. Minorsky, Cambridge). 440, 500, 657, 925 

A. Miquel, College de France, Paris. 493 
[A. Moberc]. 977 

Shireen Moosvi, Aligarh Muslim University. 325 
D.O. Morgan, University of London. 230, 235 
M. Morony, University of California, Los Angeles 

216, 552, 913 
S. Munro-Hay, Mezin, France. 545 
[Abdel Muqtadir). 440 
R. Murphey, Columbia University. 60, 89 

B. Najar, University of Paris. 413 
Azim Nanji, University of Florida. 1007 
I.R. Netton, University of Exeter. 884 

J.S. Nielsen, Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. 702 

C. Nijland, Netherlands Institute for the Near East, 
Leiden. 34 

K.A. Nizami, Aligarh Muslim University. 452, 473, 

H.T. Norris, University of London. 589, 628 
A. Noth, University of Hamburg. 381 
K. Ohrnberg, University of Helsinki. 513 
G. Oman, University of Naples. 54 
Ilber Ortayli, Ankara. 276 
[R. Paret, Tubingen], 782 
[J. Pedersen, Copenhagen]. 76, 847 
the late Ch. Pellat, University of Paris. 23, 25, 106, 

114, 126, 146, 269, 304, 358, 392, 395, 397, 404, 

415, 474, 495, 525, 563, 564, 569, 570, 581, 604, 

649, 650, 667, 764, 772, 799, 809, 815, 823, 844, 

858, 873, 897, 943, 951, 1015, 1034, 1046 
J.R. Perry, University of Chicago. 856 
Nedret Pinar, Bogazici University, Istanbul. 658 
[M. Plessner, Jerusalem]. 547, 955 
I. Poonawala, University of California, Los Angeles. 

271, 411, 443, 920, 968 
A. Popovic, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences 

Sociales, Paris. 526, 720 
Munibur Rahman, Oakland University, Rochester, 

Mich. 344, 574, 662, 668, 677, 754, 880, 1055 
R.C. Repp, University of Oxford. 546 
M.E.J. Richardson, University of Manchester. 884 
A. Rippin, University of Calgary. 293, 509, 878 
B.W. Robinson, London. 105, 603 
F. Rosenthal, Yale University. 283, 491, 963, 968 
M. Rouvillois-Brigol, University of Paris. 827 
R. Rubin acci, University of Naples. 859 
[J. Ruska]. 40, 127 

J. Sadan, Tel Aviv University. 57, 129, 852 
P.C. Sadgrove, University of Manchester. 439, 831, 

852, 869, 870 
P. Sanders, Rice University, Houston, Tex. 978 
R. Santucci, Institut National des Langues et 

Civilisations Orientales, Paris. 417 
Dj. Sari, Algiers. 874, 891 
R.M. Savory, University of Toronto. 451 

A. Savvides, Centre for Byzantine Studies, Athens. 
238, 241, 941, 1037, 1039 

B. Scarcia Amoretti, University of Rome. 407 

[J. Schacht, New York], 111, 420 

R.P. Scheindlin, The Jewish Theological Seminary 

of America, New York. 768 
Annemarie Schimmel, Harvard University. 328, 377 
A. Schippers, University of Amsterdam. 261, 643 
[H. Schirmer]. 137 

W. Schmucker, University of Bonn. 277 
G. Schoeler, University of Basel. 662, 812 
[B. Schrieke], 100 

R. Sellheim, University of Frankfurt. 282, 774 
J. Sesiano, Ecole Polytechnique Federale, Lausanne. 

[C.F. Seybold, Tubingen). 286 
Irfan Shahid, Georgetown University, Washington, 

D.C. 568, 872 
S. Shamma. 123 

5N Shammai, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 540 
M. Sharon, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 911 
M. Shatzmiller, University of Western Ontario. 807 
A. Shiloah, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. 976 
S. von Sicard, Selly Oak Colleges, Birmingham. 

608, 704 
Elizabeth M. Sirriyeh, University of Leeds. 410 
P. Sluglett, Durham University. 583, 715 
G.R. Smith, University of Manchester. 862 
[M. Sobernheim, Berlin], 693 

a Soucek, New York University. 73, 676 
S. Soucek, New York Public Library. 40, 50, 72, 87, 

[O. Spies, Bonn], 263 

F. Steppat, Berlin. 186 

[R. Strothmann, Hamburg). 879, 996 
Maria Eva Subtelny, University of Toronto. 93 
M. Talbi, University of Tunis. 484 
G.R. Tibbetts, Oxford. 53 
E.R. Toledano, Tel Aviv University. 431 
N. Tomiche, University of Paris. 714, 903 
J.L. Triaud, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences 
Sociales, Paris. 610 

G. Troupeau, Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, 
Paris. 65, 283, 286, 290, 305, 313, 405, 681, 896, 
915, 975, 1034 

M.O.H. Ursinus, University of Freiburg. 64, 205, 

206, 245 
[V. Vacca, Rome). 853 
Ch. Vial, University of Aix-Marseille. 442 
F. Vire, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifi- 

que, Paris. 831, 909, 924, 950, 952, 956, 963, 1015 
J.D.J. Waardenburg, University of Lausanne. 753 
E. Wagner, University of Giessen. 309, 568 
Jeanette A. Wakin, Columbia University, New 

York. 285 
D.J. Wasserstein, Tel Aviv University. 293, 554, 

768, 778 
W. Montgomery Watt, Dalkeith, Midlothian. 254, 

357, 665, 925, 1045 
M. Weiers, University of Bonn. 230 
A.T. Welch, Michigan State University. 376 
[A.J. Wensinck, Leiden]. 25, 27, 40, 147, 187, 295, 

577, 659, 688, 800, 845, 870, 878, 879, 969, 970 
[E. Wiedemann, Erlangen]. 204 

".. Wiegers, University of Leiden. 244 
[P. Wittek]. 56 

Christine Woodhead, University of Durham. 918 
O. Wright, University of London. 688, 1043 
M.E. Yapp, University of London. 438 
F.A.K. Yasamee, University of Manchester. 96, 229, 

M.J.L. Young, University of Leeds. 658, 823 
[G. Yver, Algiers). 64, 263 
[K.V. Zettersteen, Uppsala). 408, 410, 414, 497, 

544, 707, 753, 990 
E.J. Zurcher, University of Nijmegen. 599 



P. 194 a , ADHARI (AZERI), add to Bibl. : Sakina Berengian, Azeri and Persian literary works in twentieth century 

Iranian Azerbaijan, Berlin 1988. 
P. 486 b , al-ANDALUS, (i), add to Bibl.: H. Halm, Al-Andalus und Golhica sors, in Isl, lxvi (1989), 252-63. 
P. 1277b, BOSRA, add to Bibl.: F. Aalund, M. Meinecke and Riyadh Sulaiman al-Muqdad, Islamic Bosra, a 

brief guide, German Archaeological Institute, Damascus 1990. 


P. 810 a , FARRUKHI, add to Bibl. : Julie S. Meisami, Medieval Persian court poetry, Princeton 1987; C.E. Bos- 
worth, Farrukhi's elegy on MahmUd of Ghazna, in Iran, JBIPS, xxix (1991), 43-9. 


P. 378 b , HIKMA, add to Bibl. : H.H. Biesterfeldt, Weisheit als mot juste in der klassisch-arabischen, in Aleida Ass- 
mann (ed.), Weisheit (Archaologie der literarischen Kommunikation, 3), Munich 1991, 367-86. 


P. 86 b , C ISA, add to Bibl.: Jane D. McAuliffe, Quranic Christians, an analysis of classical and modern exegesis, 
Cambridge 1991. 

P. 181 b , ISM, add to Bibl. : Annemarie Schimmel, Islamic names, Edinburgh 1989; Jacqueline Sublet, he voile 
du nom,_essai sur le nam propre arabe, Paris 1991. 

P. 206 b , ISMA'ILIYYA, add to Bibl.: Farhad Daftary, The IsmiHlis, their history and doctrines, Cambridge 

P. 765 b , al-KATIF, add to Bibl.: J.R.I. Cole, Rival empires of trade and Imami Shi'ism in Eastern Arabia, 1300- 
1800, in IJMES, xix (1987), 1 77-203; Mehmet Mehdi ilhan, The Katif district (livd) during the first few 
years of Ottoman rule: a study of the 1551 Ottoman cadastral survey , in Bellelen, li, no. 200(1987), 781-800. 

P. 1026 b , KHANKAH, add to Bibl. : Leonor Fernandes, The evolution of a Sufi institution in Mamluk Egypt: The 
Khanqah, Berlin 1988. 

P. 1069 b , al-KH"'ARAZMI, Abu c Abd Allah, add to Bibl: C.E. Bosworth, Al-Khwarazmi on the secular and 
religious titles of the Byzantines and Christians, in CT, xxxv, no. 139-40 (1987), 28-36 [-Numero special 
Melanges Ch. Pellal}; idem, Al-Khwdrazmi on various faiths and sects, chiefly Iranian, in Textes et Memoires, 
Vol. XVI. Iranica varia: Papers in honor of Professor Ehsan Yarshaler, Leiden 1990, 164-6; W. Fischer, 
The chapter on grammar in the Kitab Mafdtih al- ( ulum, in Zeitschr. fur Arab. Linguistik, xv (1985), 94-103. 

P. 1181 b , KHAZAR, add to Bibl.: P.B. Golden, The peoples of the south Russian steppes, in D. Sinor (ed.), The 
Cambridge history of early Inner Asia, Cambridge 1990, 263-70; A. P. Novoselcev, Hazarskoe gosudarslvo 
i ego roll v istorii vostocnoi Evropii i Kavkaza ("The Khazar state and its role in the history of eastern 
Europe and the Caucasus"), Moscow 1990. 


P. 428 b , al-KUR'AN, add to Bibl, section Other works in Arabic: R. Bell, A commentary on the QuPan, 2 

vols., Manchester 1991. 
P. 956", MADIH. 2. In Persian, add to Bibl. : Julie S. Meisami, Medieval Persian court poetry, Princeton 1987. 


P. 342 b , MAN SINGH, 1. 6, for Mali, read Mall. 

P. 453 b , MANUfclHRI, add to Bibl. : W.L. Hanaway, Blood and wine: sacrifice and celebration in Manuchihri's 

wine poetry, in Iran, JBIPS, xxvi (1988), 69-80. 
P. 537 a , MARATIB, 1. 39, for Safdar, read Safdar. 

11. 42 and 51, for Lakna'u, read Lakhna'u. 
P. 730*, MASJUMI, 1. I, for Madjelis Sjuro Indonest 
P. 801 a , MATBA'A, 1. 60, for Sultan c Abd al-Medjid I 
P. 801 b , 1. 22, for 1210/1795-6, read 1211/1797. 

1. 37, for 1217/1802-3, read 1218/1803. 

I. 52, for 1247/1831-32, read 1239/1824. 

P. 913 b , MAYDAN, add to Bibl: A. Northedge, The racecourses at Sdmarrd\ in BSOAS, liii (1990), 31-56. 
P. 942 b , MAZAR-i SHARIF, add to Bibl: R.D. McChesney, Waqf in Central Asia. Four hundred years in the 

history of a Muslim shrine, 1480-1889, Princeton 1991. 
P. 1018 a , MENTESHE-OGHULLARI, 1. 46, for (1296), read (1293-5, see Angeliki Laiou, Some observations 

on Alexios Philanlhropenos andMaximos Planoudes, in Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, iv [1978], 89-99). 
P. 1018 b , 11. 3-4, for Orkhan Beg's death was probably before 1344, and his son Ibrahim succeeded him., read 

Orkhan Beg's death was before 1337, for in that year his son and successor Ibrahim Beg concluded 

a treaty with the Duca di Candia or Venetian governor of Crete. 

II. 10- 14, for but as a result of an agreement made with the assistance of Marino Morosini, the Count 
of Crete, between the years 1332-5, they were forced to disband. Ibrahim Beg died some time before 
the year 1360., read but treaties were concluded in 1353 between Marino Morosini, the Duca di Can- 
dia, and the amirs of Aydin [q.v.] and Menteshe and the Venetian forces were disbanded. Ibrahim 
Beg died at some point before 1358, because in that year his successor Musa (see below) concluded 
a treaty with the Duca di Candia (see on these treaties and their texts, which have survived, E.A. 
Zachariadou, Trade and Crusade, Venetian Crete and the emirates of Menteshe and Aydin, 1300-1415, 217-18, 


the earliest treaty between one of the Menteshe amirs and a Venetian Duca di Candia being that of 

the year 1331). 

1. 41 Jor Djandar-oghlu Iskandar Beg, rWDjandar-oghlu Iskandar (? Isfandiyar) Beg (see Y. Yucel, 

XIII-XV. yuzybllar Kuzey-Bati tarihi Qoban-Ogullan Candar-ogullan beylikleri, Ankara 1980). 

1. 8 from bottom, for Count of Crete, read Duca di Candia. 
P. 1019", add to Bibl: Barbara Flemming, Landschaftsgeschichte von Pamphylien, Pisidien und Lykien im Spatmittel- 

alter, Wiesbaden 1964; A. Luttrell, Venice and the Knights Hospitallers of Rhodes in the fourteenth century, 

in Papers of the British School at Rome, xxvi, N.S. xiii (1958), 195-212; idem, Greeks, Latins and Turks 

on late mediaeval Rhodes, in Byzanlinische jorschungen, xi (1987), 357-74. 
P. 1026 b , MESIHI, 2nd paragraph, 1. 29, replace It is generally accepted ... no Persian model, by It is generally 

accepted that in Ottoman poetry the shehr-engiz genre started with Meslhi (a shehr-engiz by DhatI 

would appear to date from just about the same time); it did have Persian forerunners, though. (Cf. 

Michael Gliinz, Safls Sahrangiz, ein persisches Matnawiuber die schonen Berufsleule von Istanbul, in Asiatische 

Studienl Eludes Asiatiques, xl/2 (1986), 133-45.) 


Pp. 81-87, MINTAKAT a 

" "" ' 11. 35-36, after n 

1. 59, for nitak, read mtdk. 

1. 56, read SaiStxa-crifioptoi. 

1. 27, for 26, 27, read 36,27. 

1. 44, for 174, 3/2, read 174, -3/2. 

1. 45, after from aldburudi, add which means al-zuhur (i.e. al-burua^,. 

1. 51, read ot AtSu|ioi. 

1. 67, for translation from Greek, read translated from Greek. 

1. 35, read XrjXai. 

1. 67, for p, o, 7C, 8, p, u, read \\ o, jc, d, p, u. 

1. 48, read 'TSpoxoo;. 

1. 50, for idhrukPus, read idhrukhu^us. 

1. 8, for al-risha*, read al-risha?. 

1. \\, for al-Mukhassas, read al-Mukhassas. 

1. 50, read fciiSia 8ia>iiu. 

1. 57 , for triplicates, read triplicates. 

1. 63, read xpiyu>voxpaxopi{. 

1. 19, read xtxpififiXot; . 

for otxoi, read olxoi. 

1. 47, for akwdl, read atwal. 

1. 58, for circles at longitude, read circles of longitude. 

1. 60, for al-kawakib, read al-kawakib. 

1. 8, for ilTA, readiVWi. 

1. 12, read drcoTEXtOfiOiTixoi. 

in the Comparative table: 

entry no. 1 (Eratostehenes), last column, for +7" 35", read + 7' 35". 

entry no. 8, name, for Banu Amdjur, read Banu Amadjur. 

Bibliography, 1. 5, read al-bdkiya. 

Bibliography, 11. 14-15, read ed. H. §. al-Damin. 

MISAHA. 1 . , add at end of the article: In the Yemen, the normal measurement of surface area was 

the ma'ad, a large, square surface which has two kasaba per side or two habl, a unit of measurement 

equal to 50 cubits. The rrufad is subdivided into kirdt, which is a square with a side of 25 cubits; it 

is thus equivalent to 625 square cubits. There are 16 kirats in a ma'-ad, which contains 10,000 libna, 

a unit of surface measurement which has a side of one cubit. 

The cubit of the surveyor is, in the Yemen, appreciably longer than that of the trader. This last 
contains 24 isba c s or fingers, equivalent each one to 6 shaHras. But the surveyors' cubit in use at Wadl 
Zabld contained 6 kabdas, to which there was added a seventh kabda minus the thumb, which would 
make a total of 40 isbah or about 83 cm (cf. Ibn al-Dayba c , al-Fasl al-mazid, ed. J. Chelhod, Arabic 
introd., 12 ff.). (J. Chelhod) 

MU C AHADA, add to Bibl.: Texts of Ottoman treaties, translations and comments can be found in 
Basbakanhk Arsivi, Istanbul, Yildiz Tasnifi series, Kisim 25 — Evrak: 184, 346, 377, 407, 1289, 
2098, 2175, 2316, 2336; Kisim 28 — Evrak: 22, 2338; Kisim 31 — Evrak: 1925 Mukerrer; Kisim 
33 — Evrak: 33/21, 33/39; Kisim 35 — Evrak: 2209, 2568, 2569, 35/20; K ls im 36 — Evrak: 169, 
139/2- Kisim 37 — Evrak: 378. 

MU C ARADA, II. 5-8,/or (see Lidia Bettini ... U. E.A.I.)), read (see Lidia Bettini, Langue et rhetorique 
au V siecle, in Quaderni di Studi Arabi, v-vi (1987-8) ( = Aid del XIII Congresso dell' U.E.A.I.), 91-104). 
Add to Bibl. : M. Guidi, La lotta tra I'Islam e il Manicheismo, un libro di Ibn al-Muqaffa c contro il Corano 
confutato da al-Qasim ibn Ibrahim, Rome 1927; J. van Ess, Some fragments of the mu c aradat al-Qur-'an attribu- 
ted to Ibn al-Muqaffa'- , in Sludia Arabica et Islamica, festschrift for Ihsan '■Abbas on his sixtieth birthday, ed. 
Wadad al-Qadi, Beirut 1981, 151-63; L. Bettini, Studi sulla teoria letteraria araba, Florence 1981, 14, 
n. 31; U. Haxen, The Mu'arada concept and its musico-rhythmical implications , in Al-Andalus, xliii (1978), 

MUDJTAHID, 1. 25, add A very paradoxical interpretation of the concept of idjtihad can already 
be found in the thought of Molla Muhsin al-Fayd al-Kashani (d. 1091/1680), for whom the true 
mudjtahids are those who follow the Akhbari school (see Kohlberg, 143). 


1. 61, after E. Kedourie [1987]... 

eighteenth centuries, in N. Levtzion i 

cuse, N.Y. 1987, 133-60; 

MUHAMMAD HUSAYN HAYKAL, add to Bibl.: Baber Johansen, M. H. Haikal. Europa und der 

Orient im Weltbild einer agyptischen Liberalen, Beirut/Wiesbaden 1967 (BTS, vol. 5); Charles D. Smith, 

Islam and the search for social order in modern Egypt. A biography of Muhammad Husayn Haikal, Albany, N.Y. 


MURSAL. The first three lines of the Bibliography should read as follows: 

Bibliography: Given in the article; see further Abu Dawud al-Sidjistani, Kitab al-Marasil, ed. 

Shu'ayb al-Ama'ut, Beirut 1988; Ibn Abl Hatim al-RazI, Kitab al-Marasil, ed. S.B. al-Samarra'I, 

Baghdad 1388; idem, ed. SJi.N. KucanI, Beirut 1977; 

MU§ADDIK, 4th 1. from bottom, for negotiations on new occasions..., read negotiations on new 

P. 655 b , add to Bibl. : H. Katouzian (ed.), Musaddiq's Memoirs, London 1988; idem, Musaddiq and the struggle 

for power in Iran, London 1990; F. Azimi, Iran: the crisis of democracy, 1941153, London 1989. 
Plate XLII, for Ca. 1680-90, read The first quarter of the 18th century. 


P. 387 a , IBN FARIfiHUN, add to Bibl. : H.H. Biesterfeldt, Ibn Fartgun 's chapter on Arabic grammar in his Com- 
pendium of the Sciences, in K. Versteegh and M.G. Carter (eds.), Studies in the history of Arabic gram- 
mar II. Procs. of the 2nd Symposium on the history of Arabic grammar, Nijmegen, 27 April-1 May 1987, 
Amsterdam 1990, 49-56. 



MIFRASH (a.), more usually in its Persian form 
ma/rash, or the Ottoman mifresh, denotes a travelling 
pack for bedding. Derived from the Arabic verb 
jarasha "to spread out or furnish a house or tent", it 
is thus cognate with mafrushal [g.v.] in the sense of 

Two early examples made from waxed canvas, 
reinforced with patterns of brass studs, are preserved 
in the harem of the Topkapi Sarayi, Istanbul (8/460 
and 8/465 khurdj). These are flat-bottomed, 90 x 55 
cm, with D-shaped ends 30 cm high around which the 
long sides curve inwards. A grip was fitted at each 
end, and the pack was secured by seven straps buckled 
from side to side and one lengthwise. The original col- 
our seems to have been vine green. 

The term is now generally applied to the woven rec- 
tangular bedding packs still used by nomads, and nor- 
mally made in pairs to balance on either side of the 
camel carrying them. It appears in the following 
variants: Azari (lit.) mdfrdsh, (Pushkin, Nakhcivan, 
Djebrayil, and Shusha, also Karapapakh in Kars pro- 
vince) farmash, (Shahsevan and Karadaghi)/armaf£ or 
Jermesh; Kurdish (Djalall) mashraf or ma/rash; Kashka'I 
Turki mqfredx or (Farsimadan) mdrfidj_; Ozbek (lit.) 
mapramac, (Kaucin) naprac, (Kungrat of the Surkhan- 
darva) napramac, (Lakay) mefiremec, (Aksha and 
Tashkurghan) majramac. The Karakalpak equivalent 
is called karshin. It is not clear whether ma/rash as 
attributed to the Turkmen is due only to Iranian 
dealers; it does not appear in Baskakov's dictionary, 
nor is it usual among the Yomut of Iran. It is applied 
only to a small pouch. The term survives in various 
parts of Anatolia as mafiac (Derleme wzlkgk, ix, 1977), 
and among the Turkmen of Kayseri (Akkisla) and the 
Karadagli of Afyon as mnvrash, but in the latter two 
cases it is used for a woven pouch for soft goods. 

In Iran, the form is particularly developed among 
the Shahsevan [g.v.] and Karadaghli, not only in 
Mughan and Arasbaran, but among the outlying 
tribes in Hashtriid and Miyana, Bidjar, Kazwtn and 
Sawa, and Miyandoab; since substantial parts of the 
Kharakan groups appear to have been moved there 
from northeast Adharbaydjan under Nadir Shah or 
later in the 12th/ 18th century, it was quite probably 
known to the main body of Shahsevan there by 1700, 
that is from the beginning of the federation (of. Tap- 
per in Bibi, 804 ff.). Its use in FSrs is typical of the 

tribes of Kirman; it may therefore have been brought 
south bv those elements of the Kashka'I who came 
from Adharbaydjan in Safavid times or earlier. In 
both regions the packs are usually flat-woven, though 

isual t< 

veft floa 

s progres; 
ik), though examples in pilework can also be 
found. The Shahsevan also use tapestry weave. 
Kashka'i packs are characterised by leather binding 
along all the edges, a handle at either end, three straps 
across the width, and one lengthwise, with buckles, 
and flaps to close the top: they are thus close to the 
Ottoman model. They measure about 120 cm long, 
40 cm wide and 55 cm high. Mughan Shahsevan 
packs are slightly smaller, at about 100 x 50 x 50 cm, 
and generally lack both straps and flaps, though the 
latter are occasionally provided. Instead, the open top 
is provided with rings at the edges through which lac- 
ing can be passed. In both cases the woven design 
appears on all four sides, the bottom being simply in 
plain weave. In brocaded packs from Miyana, the 
design is sometimes on three sides only, whereas in 
those from Hashtrud, Khamsa and Bidjar, only one 
face is decorated (Tanavoli, in Bibi, 161 ff.). 
Tapestry-woven packs are, however, four-faced in all 
regions. Both types are some 10 cm lower than in 
Mughan, as are those from Kars. Kurdish packs in 
both Turkey and Iran, are used by the Djalali and 
Milan, resemble the Mughan format in size and in 
tending to have three bands of ornament continuous 
on all faces, but the handling of the motifs is more 
compact, and a technique of reversed extra-weft knot- 
ted wrapping is sometimes used. A few packs of the 
Kashka'T format were made by the Bakhtiyarl and 
other Lur, but with Lur 

"ally i> 

l format, 

Lakay mepre 
95 x 30 x 40 cm, and are decorated with pilework or 
embroidery on one long side and the ends only; they 
are fitted with five or six loops on each of the long top 
edges. It is said that staves are passed through these 
to stiffen the pack as it is packed up, a procedure 
absent among nomads in Iran. Such packs appear to 
be associated particularly with the Kipcak group of 
Ozbek. They are also found among some Iranian- 
speaking groups in southern Tadjikistan, including 

called teng-tuk (100 xTo x 30) are used by some Kazak 
(Kizfl Orda oblast), and may be compared to the felt 
covers, sandik kap, used to house their chests. 

Bedding packs hold a complete bed, of mattress, 
quilt and pillow, rolled up, or even two, and can be 
lifted by two people with difficulty when full. They are 
ranged along the rear wall of the tent, forming the 
basis of the baggage pile, jiik, where the decorated 
face can be displayed to advantage. 

The equivalent Persian term is rakhi-i kh w ab-pu. In 
northern India the same function is performed by the 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, 


Bibliography: Some Azari variants of the term 
can be found in R. A. Rustamov and M. Sh. 
Shiraliyev, Azarbaydjan dilinin dialektolozhi lughati, 
Baku 1964; see also W. Radloff, Versuch eines Wdrter- 
buches der Tiirk-Dialekte, repr. The Hague 1960, and 
B. Kh. Karmuisheva, Lokayskie "mapramaci" , in 
Soobshc"eniya_ Respublikanskogo Istoriko-Kraevedceskogo 
Muzeya, vuip. ii, Stalinabad 1955, 122 n. 6. Other 
variants are recorded from the author's fieldwork. 
Shahsevan packs are discussed in J. Housego, Some 
flat weaves of Azerbaijan, in Halt, iv/2 (1981), 1 18-23; 
eadem, Tribal rugs, London 1978; S. Azadi and 
P.A. Andrews, Mafrash, Berlin and Munich 1985 
(also showing a Kashka'T pack, pi. facing p. 256, 
and two attributed to the Lur, facing pp. 242-4), 
and P. Tanavoli, Shahsavan, New York 1985 (also in 
German, Fribourg 1985). For the technique, see 
also R.L. and N. Tapper and P.A. Andrews, Far- 
mash weaving among the Shahsevan, in Oriental carpet and 
textile studies, i, London 1985, 124-30. For 
Shahsevan history, see R.L.Tapper, The Shahsavan 
of Azarbaijan, London Ph.D. thesis, 1971, unpubl., 
Appendix iii. For a Lurl example and discussion, 
see A. de Franchis and J.T. Wertime, Lori and 
Bakhtiyari flatweaves, exhibition catalogue, Tehran 
1976, 16 and pi. 26 A. For Ozbek packs, see Kar- 
muisheva, op. cit. , 121-45, and for the Kazak types, 
M.S. Mukanov, Kazakhskaya yurtas , Alma Ata 1981, 
pis. 36-86. _ (P.A. Andrews) 

MIHMINDAR (p.), the title of the 18th 
dignity, out of the 25 at the Mamluk sultan's 
court; succeeding to the duties of the Fatimid naHb 
sahib al-bdb (see M. Canard, Le ceremonial fatimite et le 
ceremonial byzantin, in Byzantion, xxi [1951], 371, 377, 
412), he was in charge of receiving ambassadors 
and delegations of Bedouins (Wwi), of providing 
them with accommodation suitable to their rank, of 
providing for their needs during their stay and of pre- 
senting them, at the appropriate moment, in the 
audience chamber of the ruler. Whilst the ncfib was an 
official of the pen (min arbdb al-akldm), the office of 
mihminddriyya was reserved for an official of the sword 
(min arbdb al-suyuf) in the public service (see esp. al- 
Kalkashandl, Subh, i, 484, iv, 187, 218 and index). 
It is under his title of al-Mihmindar that al-Amlr 
al-Hamdam, Badr al-DIn Abu '1-Mahasin Yusuf b. 
Sayf al-Dawla b. Zammakh b. Thumama al- 
Tha c labi/al-Taghlibf, author of a work on genealogy 
and a treatise on rhetoric, who claimed to belong to 
the Banu Hamdan and be the descendant of Sayf al- 
Dawla [q.v.], is best known. He was born in 602/1205 
and probably died towards the end of the 7th/ 13th 
century, after having held the post of mihminddr under 
the last Ayyubid and then in the reign of the Mamluk 
al-Mansur Kalawun [q.v.]. Since he was constantly in 
contact with the Bedouins, from whom he himself 
sprang, he put into a Kitdb al-Ansdb all the items of 
knowledge about their genealogies and histories, 
which earned him the sobriquet of al-Nassdba ("the 
genealogist"). This work has not survived, but its 
subject-matter is in part preserved by later authors, 
amongst whom one should mention al-Kalkashandi, 
in the Nihdyat al-arab, the Kald?id al-djumdn and even 
the Subh, when he deals with the Bedouins and the 
Arab tribes. Al-Makrizi also utilised al-Mihmindar's 
work, but without acknowledging it. 

Al-Mihmindar was furthermore a poet and lit- 
terateur. The only work of his to survive is his Izdlat 
al-illibds fi 'l-fark bayn al-ishtikdk wa 'l-djinds (ms. in 
Cairo, see Fihrist-al kutub al- c arabiyya al-mahfuza bi 'l- 
kutubkhdna al-misriyya, 1306/1888-9, iv, 122, 1926, ii, 

Bibliography: c UmarI, Masalik, ms. Istanbul, 
Ahmet III 2797, iii; Ibn Shakir al-Kutubl, Fawdt, 
ed. I. c Abbas, Beirut 1973-4, iv, 349-51; SafadI, 
Waft, x, Wiesbaden 1980, 334; Kalkashandl, 
Nihdyat al-arab, Cairo 1959; idem, Kald^id al-djumdn, 
Cairo 1963; Daw* al-$ubh, Cairo 1966; Makrizi, 
Suluk, i/2, 637-8 where the verses are transposed, 
see the correct version in al-Tuhfa al-mulukiyya of 
Baybars al-Mansurl, ms. Vienna, Flugel 905, fol. 
22a; idem, al-Baydn wa'l-i'-rdb, ed. c AbdIn, Cairo 
1961, 53, no. 87; Ibn Hadjar al- c AskalanI, al-Durar 
al-kdmina, Cairo n.d., v, 231, n. 3, 232; SuyutI, 
Husn al-muhddara, Cairo 1967, i, 569, biogr. no. 61 
(correct Rabbah into Zammakh); HadjdjI Khalifa, 
Kashf, ed. Istanbul, i, 158; Isma c H Pasha al- 
Baghdadl, Hadiyyat al- c ariftn, Istanbul 1951-5, ii, 
555, where the date of his death is placed around 
670 (?); Suwaydl, SabdHk al-dhahab, Cairo n.d.; 
Brockelmann, I, 283, S I, 499; Bjorkmann, Beitrdge 
zur Geschichte der Staatskanzlei im islamischen Aegypten, 
Hamburg 1928, 82; Ahmad Lutfl al-Sayyid, KabdHl 
al-^Arab ft Misr, Cairo 1934, 82; A. c AbdIn, in the 
introd. to the ed. of al-Baydn wa 'l-i'-rdb of Makrizi, 
5; Kahhala, Mu'djam al-mu>allifin, Damascus 1961, 
xiii, s.v. Yusuf al-Hamdanl; M. Hiyari, al-lmara al- 
td^iyya ft bildd al-Shdm, 'Amman' 1977, 16; A.H. 
Saleh, Quelques remarques sur les Bedouins d'Egypte au 
Moyen-Age, in SI, xlviii (1978), 63. (A. Saleh) 
MIHNA [see sina c a, sinf]. 

MIHNA (a.), a term meaning in general usage a 
"testing" or "trial", whether by the accidents of for- 
tune or the actions of men (Patton, 1). This general 
sense is reflected in the Kitdb al-Mihan by Abu 'l- c Arab 
[q.v.] where the author sets out to give an account of 
"those who have been afflicted (ubtuliya) by being 
killed, imprisoned, flogged, or threatened..." (47). 
More particularly, the term (together with its counter- 
part imtihdn) signifies the procedure adopted by the 
caliph al-Ma'mun [q.v.], and officially applied under 
his two immediate successors, for the purpose of 
imposing the view that the Kur'an had been created. 
1 . The course of historical events. The circumstances of 
this initiative, which was set in motion by al-Ma'mun 
in a letter written in Rabf 1 I 218/April 833, four 
months before his death, are most fully described by 
al-Tabarl (iii, 1112 ff.) and have been examined in 
detail by Patton (56 ff). In the first instance, al- 
Ma'mun, who was at al-Rakka (or Damascus, accord- 
ing to al-Ya c kubi, ii, 571), desired his deputy in 
Baghdad, Ishak b. Ibrahim, to test the kadis in his 
jurisdiction concerning God's creation of the Kur'an. 
The language of his letter to this effect is powerful and 
direct: God has the right to have His religion carried 
out properly, and the great mass of the common 
people, who know no better, being without the light 
of knowledge, are mistaken when they espouse the 
view that the Kur'an is eternal (kadim awwat); for God 
has said in the Kur'an "We have made it (dja^alndhu) 
an Arabic Kur'an" (XKIII, 3), and everything He 
has made (dja'-ala) He has created (khalaka). In addi- 
tion, they have made a fallacious link between them- 
selves and the sunna, making themselves out to be 
"the people of truth, religion and unity" and 
characterising those who do not agree with them as 
"people of falsehood, unbelief and schism", but in 
reality they are, inter alia, "the worst of the umma" 
and "the tongue of the Devil" and are in no way to 
be trusted. The Commander of the Faithful will not 
rely on anyone who does not conform in this regard, 
nor are kadis to accept the testimony of such people. 
This letter to Ishak was followed by another instruc- 

individuals, including the 

Yahya b. Ma'In and Zul 

seven were tested and, hav 


trine of the created Ku 

Baghdad where their 

publicised. By this time, t 

Ma 5 : 

a letter: 
s: the i 

:t of th 

ached Misr in Djumada II 218/July 833 
was closely modelled on, or identical with, the first let- 
ter to Ishak (Ibn Taghrlbirdi, ed. Cairo, ii, 218 f.; cf. 
al-Kindi, 193, 445 ff.). But it was at Baghdad that the 
impact of the mihna was felt most at this time: in 
response to further instructions from al-Ma'mun, 
Ishak went on to test about thirty leading/ufajAd 5 and 
hadith specialists, who, with only two exceptions, and 
in certain cases under some duress, acknowledged the 
doctrine of the created Kur'an. The exceptions, 
Ahmad b. Hanbal [q.v.\ and Muhammad b. Nuh al- 
'Idjll, were despatched in i 

Ma 5 

M Tars. 

urn froi 

sudden death of the caliph (mid-Radjab 
218/mid-August 833) saved them from this particular 
predicament and they were sent back. Muhammad b. 
Nuh died on the return journey, and Ahmad was kept 
in detention after reaching Baghdad. 

Al-Ma 3 mun had set in motion in the last four 
months of his life something which his brother and 
successor as caliph, al-Mu'tasim, was left to cope 
with. He had moreover stipulated in his last will and 
testament that al-Mu'tasim should, inter alia, hold to 
his policy on the Kur'an and make (the Mu'tazill) 
Ahmad b. AbT Du'ad [q.v.] his closest confidant (al- 
al-Subkl, ii, 59); and al-Subki 

Misr, Muzaffar b. Kaydur (held office Rabl' II- 
Sha'ban 219/May-Sept. 834), instructing him to test 
the 'ufamd'on the creation of the Kur'an and he tested 
a group of them (Ibn Taghrlbirdi, ii, 230; al-Kindi 
makes no mention of this, and it is possible that Ibn 
Taghrlbirdi is misrepresenting the al-Ma'mun letter 
transmitted by the future caliph al-Mu'tasim to 
Muzaffar's father Kaydur, when the latter was gover- 
nor of Egypt and al-Ma^mun was still caliph, al- 
Kindi, 193, 445 ff.). The second instance, the matter 
of the unfinished business of what should be done with 
\hmad b. Hanbal, was far more significant: indeed, 
he story of the mihna of the Imam Ahmad at the hands 
)f al-Mu'tasim looms large in later SunnI 
lagiography. Abu Nu'aym, Ibn al-Djawzi, al-Subkl 

nembers of Ahmad's family, regale us with the details 
of how the courageous and intransigent Imam resisted 
'1 attempts to make him acknowledge the created 
ur 3 an, was ultimately flogged on al-Mu c tasim's 
■ders until he was unconscious (but cf. the alter- 
ative version given by Abu Nu'aym, ix, 205 f.), and 
as released shortly afterwards when commotion 
nong the population of Baghdad threatened tc 

.vith s. 

e jus 

why, for all that al-Mu c 

, he ii 


s the 



trine of the created Ki 
of how this was achieved, it 
tion should be made betwei 
mality in courts of law and 
beyond the confines of the c 
of mihna in the first of these 

in. Con« 
it would se 

-mng tr 

n that a dist 

n: as an example 
ve are told that in 
Misr the kadi would accept the testimony only of those 
witnesses who acknowledged that the Kur'an had 
been created and that "this [type of] mihna lasted from 
218 until [after] the accession of al-Mutawakkil in 
232" (al-Kindi, 447). On the matter of where the 
mihna was applied, the evidence points to Baghdad, 
Kufa, Basra, Damascus, Mecca and Medina (Patton, 
62 f.; Abu 'l-'Arab, 448 ff.; Hanbal b. Ishak, 38 !'.; 
Wakl*, i, 268 f.; also Ifrikiya, see below) in addition 
to Misr. The situation in the Tahirid-controlled East 
is not clear: the kadi of Balkh is reported to have 
objected to a mihna letter which stated that the Kur'an 
had been created (al-Balkhi, FadaHl, 210), and the 
author of the Tdrikh-i Sisldn says that, after the flog- 
ging of Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Mu'tasim circulated let- 
ters to each community calling upon people to believe 
in the created Kur'an (185 f.^Eng. tr. Gold, 147: one 
may suspect here a fusion of al-Ma 3 mun's letters with 
al-Mu'tasim 's treatment of Ahmad); but that appears 
to be the sum total of our present knowledge about the 
matter as far as the East is concerned. 

The sources give the impression that al-Mu'tasim 
himself was in general predisposed to settle for mihna 
as no more than a courtroom formality, and al-Kindi 
even remarks that "the matter of the mihna was easy 
(sahl'") during the reign of al-Mu'tasim" (451), but 
there are nonetheless two instances early in his reign 
where it was applied outside the courtroom. The first 
of these does not seem to have been particularly 
important: al-Mu'tasim wrote to his governor of 

. Thes* 

lude s< 

(by a 

embellishments, e.g. how Ahmad's sc 
supernaturally restored to their proper 
golden hand in some versions) when they were in the 
process of slipping off while he was being flogged. In 

espouse a view he regards as religiously improper; 
there is no room for takiyya here (for a detailed treat- 
ment of all this, see Patton, 93 ff.). 

That Ahmad was flogged is not in doubt, for all that 
the incident is ignored by al-Tabarl and Ibn 
Miskawayh; the sources give as the date of this event 
both Ramadan 219/Sept. 834 and Ramadan 
220/Sept. 835, the second of which is to be preferred 
if it is correct that the total period of his detention was 
about two-and-a-half years (see e.g., Salih b. Ahmad, 
278; Hanbal b. Ishak, 42). There are, however, cer- 

e ques 

of what 

of the 

say. In the first plac 
are under the impression that Ahmad was flogged 
until he actually acknowledged the created Kur'an: al- 
Ya'kubi knew this to be the case (ii, 577), and 
Ahmad's contemporary al-Djahiz tells us that it took 
only 30 strokes (Rasa'il, ed. Sandubi, 152); al- 
Mas'udi thought that it took 38 strokes (Murudi, 
§ 2797), while Ibn al-Murtada opts for 68 (Tahakdt al- 
MuHazila, 125). Secondly, these sources know nothing 
about Ahmad's release having been occasioned by a 
public commotion; for them, his release was the con- 
sequence of his acknowledgement, although Ibn al- 
Murtada would have us believe that it took place only 
alter he had acknowledged the created Kur 3 an before 
the assembled population of Baghdad. Thirdly, what 
these sources have to say provides an alternative 
explanation of why Ahmad was subsequently left 
alone by the authorities; it was not because they 
lacked the nerve to test him again, but because he had 
capitulated. None of these sources can be regarded as 
other than more or less hostile to Ahmad, but even so 
it is difficult to explain away the essence of what they 
have to say. The en passant remark by al-Djahiz, in 
particular, with its casual and matter-of-fact tone, has 
a convincing ring to it; Ibn al-Murtada's reference to 
Ahmad's public acknowledgement of defeat may well 
be dismissed as an embellishment, although it would 
have made good sense from the point of view of Ibn 

Abi Du'ad, who was by this time kaflt al-kudat and thus 
in effect chief inquisitor; and even Ibn al-DjawzI was 
aware of such accounts, for all that he eschewed them 
(337: hikdydt fi kissat darbihi lamyathbut Hndana sihhatuhd 

However the case of Ahmad is to be viewed, it is 
apparent that this was the last occasion on which al- 
Mu c tasim involved himself in any conspicuous way 
with the prosecution of the mihna. Thereafter he was 
preoccupied with moving his capital to Samarra' 
[q.v.], dealing with the rebel Babak [q.v.], mounting 
his celebrated offensive against Amorium [see 
c ammuriyaj, coping with the revolt of Mazyar [q.v.], 
and in 226/841, the year before his death, overseeing 
the trial and execution of Afshin [q.v.]. Although al- 
Kindl is (presumably) referring only to Misr when he 
says that the matter of the mihna was easy during the 
rule of al-Mu c tasim (see above), his remark appears 
also to be true more generally; Ibn Taghribirdi even 
goes so far as to suggest that al-Mu c tasim at some 
point banned the testing of c ulamd> (ii, 259); and the 
relative inactivity of Ibn Abi Du'ad during these years 
remains in need of explanation. Not until the last year 
of al-Mu c tasim's reign can any changes be observed 
in respect of the application of the mihna, at Misr in 
one case and Baghdad in another. The first of these 
changes came when the Malikl kadi of Misr, Harun b. 
c Abd Allah al-Zuhri, who had accepted the doctrine of 
the created Kurgan since the time of al-Ma'mun and 
had henceforward tested witnesses in court, baulked 
at transporting jukahP (sc. to c Irak) for testing and 
was suspended from duty in Safar 226/Dec. 840 (al- 
Kindl, 447, 449). Ibn Abi Du'ad immediately put in 
charge of the mihna in Misr a certain Muhammad b. 
Abi '1-Layth al-Asamm, who was afakih according to 
the "madhhab of the Kufans" (al-Kindl, 449) and is 
identified as a Mu'tazili (al-Kindl, 467). He set about 
transporting people to c Irak for interrogation, among 
them the traditionist Nu'aym b. Hammad and al- 
Shafi'I's discipline Yusuf b. Yahya al-Buwaytl (al- 
Kindi, 447), both of whom later died there in prison 
(Patton, 119; Ibn al-DjawzI, 397 f.; Ibn Hadjar, 
Tahdhib, x, 460 ff., xi, 427 ff.). Two months later, Ibn 
Abi '1-Layth was formally appointed kadi of Misr (al- 
Kindl, 449). Secondly, there were the activities of 
S_hu c ayb b. Sahl, one of the Baghdad kadis, who 
"tested" people and adorned the mosque of al-Rusafa 
with writing to the effect that the Kur'an had been 
created. In Rabl* I 227/Jan. 842, only days after the 
death of al-Mu'tasim and the accession of his son al- 
Wathik, Shu'ayb's residence was plundered and he 
himself was obliged to flee (Wakl<, iii, 277; cf; TaMkh 
Baghdad, ix, 243). This too would seem to be 
indicative of an intensification of mihna activity on the 
part of Ibn Abi Du'ad, and that at a time when al- 
Mu'tasim had fallen ill (al-Tabari, iii, 1323). 

According to al-Kindi's account, al-Wathik wrote 
immediately after his accession to Ibn Abi '1-Layth in 
Misr instructing him to prosecute the mihna with 
vigour, and the energetic kadi "left no fakih, 
muhaddith, mu^adhdhin or mu'-allim untested. Many 
people fled and the prisons were full of those who had 
denied the mihna"; he ordered that the words "There 
is no god but God, the Lord of the created Kur'an" 
be inscribed on the mosques of Fustat; and he denied 
Malikl and Shafi'I fukaha > access, or even proximity, 
to the [main] mosque (al-Kindl, 451; cf. Abu '1- 
'Arab, 253). In recognition of his efforts, the poet al- 
Djamal al-Akbar praised him for having "protected" 
the kawl of Abu Hanlfa and having "smashed" the 
kawl of the Shafi'Is and Malikls (al-Kindl, 452); and 
it was this same kadi who is reported to have tested the 

Malikl Muhammad (or c Abd al-Hakam) b. c Abd 
Allah b. c Abd al-Hakam and to have had him flogged 
in the masdjid of Misr clad only in his underwear (Abu 
'l- c Arab, 437, cf. 253). 

Ibn Taghribirdi, on the other hand, says it was in 
231/845-6 that the caliph wrote to the provinces 
(a c md!) instructing that the c u/ama' be tested with 
regard to the created Kurgan (ii, 259), and this 
apparently included the people of the marches {ahl al- 
thughur) (al-Tabari, iii, 1352); in the same year, he 
declined to ransom those Muslims held by the Byzan- 
tines who would acknowledge that the Kurgan had 
been created (al-Tabari, iii, 1353 f; al-Ya c kubI, ii, 
589; Patton, 120). In this same year, too, Ahmad b. 
Nasr al-Khuza c i became involved in a planned upris- 
ing in Baghdad that misfired. This Ahmad, the scion 
of a distinguished partisan of the c Abbasids in the day 
of the coup that brought them to power, opposed the 
doctrine of the created Kur'an and was much fre- 
quented by the Baghdad! ashab al-hadith. On being 
brought before al-Wathik, he was questioned not 
about the uprising but about the Kur'an, and his 
responses drove the enraged caliph to make a personal 
start on decapitating him; his head was thenceforward 
placed on public view in Baghdad as a grisly warning 
to potential nonconformists, while his cadaver stayed 
in Samarra 5 , also on display (al-Tabari, iii, 1342-9; 
al-Ya c kubI, ii, 589; Patton, 116-18). Coincidentally, 
it was also in the year 231/846 that Abu Dja'far 
Ahmad b. al-Aghlab seized power in lfrikiya from his 
brother Muhammad (briefly, as it turned out), pro- 
claimed the doctrine of the created Kurgan, instituted 
a mihna, and had the distinguished Malikl jurist 
Sahnun [q.v.] arraigned at al-Kayrawan before the 
Mu c tazili kadilhn Abi '1-Djawad; Sahnun held to the 
view that the Kur'an was "the speech of God and not 
created" and was sentenced to house arrest (Talbi, 
L'emiral aghlabide, 228; Abu 'l- c Arab, 454 ff., can be 
added to Talbi's references). 

Al-Wathik is said to have left off the doctrine of the 
created Kur'an after a shaykh from Adana, who was 
one of ahl al-fikh wa 'l-hadith, bested Ibn Abi Du'ad in 
argument on the subject (Patton, 121 if.; al-Mas c udi, 
Murudi, §§ 3132-8, Ta\ikh Baghdad, iv, 151 f., and 
Ibn al-rajawzl, 350 ff. can be added to Patton's 
references). But it was his brother al-Mutawakkil, 
who succeeded him in Dhu '1-Hidjdja 232/August 
847, who put an end to the mihna. Al-Subkf tells us (ii, 
54) that this happened in 234/848-9, and Patton (122) 
concurs. Certainly, it appears to have been in 
Djumada III 234/Jan.-Feb. 849 that al-Mutawakkil 
prohibited argument about the Kur'an and sent 
instructions to this effect throughout his domains (al- 
Kindl, 197; al-Tabari, iii, 1412 (lammd afdat ilayhi 'l- 
khilafa); Ibn Taghribirdi, ii, 275); and this decision 
may well have been facilitated by the fact that Ibn Abi 
Du'ad had become paralysed in the preceding year 
(al-Tabari, iii, 1379). But there are grounds for 
holding the view that it was not until 237/851-2 that 
the mihna episode was completely phased out. In the 
first place, it was in that year that the mortal remains 
of Ahmad b. Nasr were taken down and given over to 
his relatives and that those who had been imprisoned 
on account of the doctrine of the created Kur'an were 
released (al-Tabari, iii, 1412 f.; Ibn Taghribirdi, ii, 
290; cf. al-Ya c kubi, ii, 592, which implies that the 

that Ahmad b. Abi Du'ad and his sons were deprived 
of all influence, together with their estates and most of 
their wealth, and were sent by al-Mutawakkil away 
from Samarra' to Ba gh dad (al-Tabari, iii , 1410 f.). 
Secondly, it is instructive to take note of the dates 

replaced: Ibn Abi 'l-Layth was dismissed as kadi of 
Misr in Sha c ban 235/Feb. -March 850 at the order of 
al-Mutawakkil, who instructed that he be cursed from 
the minbar (al-Kindi, 463), and his replacement was 
appointed in Djumada I 237/Nov. 851 (al-Kindi, 
467); the kadi of Mecca throughout the mihna period, 
c Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd b. Muhammad b. Hanzala 
al-Makhzumf (who was "doctrinally corrupt (khabith 
al-ray) and used to test the people and frighten 
them"), was dismissed at an unspecified date and his 
replacement was appointed in 238/852-3 (Wakr, i, 
268 f.); the kadi of Kufa for practically the whole of the 
mihna period, Ghassan b. Muhammad al-Marwaz! 
(who "used to test the people ... and was one of the 
ashab of Ibn AbT Du'ad"), was dismissed by al- 
Mutawakkil in 235/849-50 and his replacement was 
appointed in the same year (Wakl c , iii, 194); and one 
of the Baghdad kadis,, <Ubayd Allah b. Ahmad b. 
Ghalib (who was one of the ashab of Ibn Abi Du'ad), 
was dismissed by al-Mutawakkil in 234/848-9 (Wakr, 
iii, 277; Ibn Abi '1-Wafa', i, 237), while another, 
c Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. Abi Yazid al-Khalandji 
("one of the ashab of Ibn Abi Du'ad who used to test 
the people"), was dismissed at an unspecified date 
(probably 237) and his replacement was appointed in 
237/851-2 (Wakr, iii, 291 f., which reads "al- 
KhalTdji"; al-Taban, iii, 1411. Cf. Ibn Abi '1-Wafa', 
i, 290, no. 764 ("al-KhalrdjT") and ii, 304, no. 397 
("al-Khalandji")). In short, al-Mutawakkil appar- 
ently thought it prudent to proceed cautiously in 
bringing the mihna period to an end; the beginning of 
the end was the edict of 234; the end of the end was 
the deportation of Ibn Abi Du'ad and his sons in 237. 
2. Theological aspects. Why should al-Ma'mun have 
wished to institute a mihna at all and why should the 
issue have been the createdness of the Kur'an? In 
attempting to answer these questions, we should first 
note that the prevailing view among early traditionists 
was an insistence that the Kur'an was truly the speech 
of God and a denial that it had been created, "without 

513). In other words, in opposing the view that the 
Kur'an had been created, such people were not saying 
that it was uncreated but simply that it was God's per- 
sonal speech, a view that was usually accompanied by 

the notion of stripping God of His attributes (la'tit); as 
God's personal speech, the Kur'an was perceived as 
an expression of the essence of God and was 
"associated with God much more closely than any 
part of his creation" (Madelung, 511). It is also clear, 
however, that, during at least part of his career, Abu 
HanTfa had taught that the Kur'an had been created 
(Madelung, 509 f), and that this contributed to 
serious differences of opinion within the ranks of his 
followers (see, e.g., Watt, Formative period, 197-285), 
notably as between, on the one hand, those who were 
tradition-minded and adhered to the notions of the 
Kur'an as the speech of God, "neither creator nor 
created" (Madelung, 508), and, on the other hand, 
those who were robustly critical of hadith and held the 
view that the Kur'an had been created. Thus in the 
course of the mihna, we find followers of Abu Hanffa 
among both the "testers" and the "tested" (Watt, 

odium of putting God and the Kur'an on an equal 
level, of claiming that it is eternal and primordial, and 
that God has not created, originated or produced it; 
they are like the Christians, who claim that Jesus was 
not created because he is the Word of God 
(Madelung, 517, citing al-Tabari, iii, 1113, 1118). 
" " at was he trying to achieve? According to Sourdel, 
mais auparavant on n'avait vu un calife se 

d'eclairer la communaute et de lui communiquer la 
nee qui lui avait ete confiee" {Politique religieuse, 
44); Lapidus, on the other hand, sees the mihna as part 
f a general effort to restore (sic) the ideological 
uthority of the caliphate (Separation, 379); and this 
idea is taken further by Crone and Hinds (God's 
Caliph, ch. v,) who propose that the type of caliphal 
eligious authority which al-Ma'mun sought to re- 
establish was one which had indeed been familiar in 
he time of the Umayyad caliphate. Whether he would 
lave succeeded if he had lived longer is one of the 
;reat questions of counterfactual history, although the 
>dds were certainly against him: for he had to contend 
lot only with the choice of his c Abbasid predecessors 
o play up their roles as kinsmen of the Prophet (at the 
expense of their role as deputies of God) but also with 
the fact that by his time the transformation of sunna 
into Prophetic Sunna documented by hadith had gone 

According to Watt, the point of insisting on a 
created Kur'an as the central feature of the mihna was 
that it had less prestige than an uncreated Kur'an 
(since God might have created it otherwise), and 
"there could not be the same objections to its provi- 
sions being overruled by the decree of an inspired 
imam. Thus the doctrine of createdness enhanced the 
power of the caliph and the secretaries, that of 
uncreatedness the power of the ulama" (Formative 

the doctrine of the created Kur'an is a doctrine about 
God, and more specifically about God's unity, rather 
than a doctrine about the Kur'an, and there is in any 
case no evidence whatsoever to support the view that 
al-Ma'mun wanted to overrule the Kur'an; for 
another, it is clear that it was the populist hadith 
enthusiasts who were al-Ma'mun's target. What al- 
Ma'mun in fact appears to have been doing is espous- 
ing that form of what may be called "hardline" 
Hanafi thinking which was eautious about hadith and 
held to the doctrine of the created Kur'an, and which 
to that extent had an affinity with the early Mu c tazill 
insistence that the Kur'an be "the only basis for their 
system of religious doctrine ... [an insistence which] 
led them to the rejection of most traditions and, by 
implication, of legal doctrines based on traditions" 
(Schacht, Origins, 258). This is not to say that the 
inspiration for the mihna necessarily came from 
Mu c tazilfs or that its initial purpose was the imposi- 
tion of Mu c tazili doctrine; indeed, van Ess (Dirdr, 34) 
has drawn attention to Ibn Tayfur's important indica- 
tions (i) that the truly influential figure behind al- 
Ma'mun was the Djahmite Hanafi Bishr al-Marlsi 
[q.v.], who, while he shared with the Mu c tazila a 
belief in the doctrine of the created Kur'an, did not 
hold with their doctrine of free will; and (ii) that al- 
Ma'mun himself also left off al-kawl bi 'l-kadar. But 
this would appear to have been the only point of major 
difference between the two stances. Otherwise, there 
are simply further similarities. For example, Abu '1- 
c Arab (451) knew of a mihna letter from al-Ma'mun to 
Ishak which stipulated not only the doctrine of the 
created Kur'an but also the denial of c adhab al-kabr 
\q.v.] and other aspects of popular eschatology: this 


was very much in line with Mu c tazill thinking. In 
addition, there is the striking association of many 
Mu'tazills of the period with HanaR fikh (e.g. Watt, 
286); and since the Mu'tazilTs never elaborated a 
system of legal doctrine of their own, it can be con- 
cluded that such people found "hardline" Hanalifikh 
perfectly congenial. In short, in the context of the 
mihna, Mu c tazilT interests overlapped considerably 
with those of al-Ma 3 mun, for all that they were not 
identical; and this is reflected in al-Ma 3 mun's 
testamentary stipulation that al-Mu c tasim should 
make Ibn Abl Du'ad his closest confidant. 

Al-Ma'mun's own commitment to vigorous pro- 
secution of the mihna comes across strongly in his let- 
ters/edicts on the subject. In the case of his successors 
al-Mu c tasim and al-Wathik, however, no evidence 
attests to the same degree of commitment, and it 
would seem to be fair to conclude that they simply did 
not share al-Ma 3 mun's vision in this regard. They 
were in addition functioning in the new military envi- 
ronment of Samarra 5 and were thus more remote than 
al-Ma>mun had been from the civilian Muslim 
population; al-Mu c tasim in particular was preoc- 
cupied with other important matters; and al-Wajhik, 
for all his early enthusiasm, may in the end have con- 
vinced himself that the mihna, on any level beyond 
that of a courtroom formality, was simply not going 
to work. The tradition-minded JukahP and the muhad- 
dithun and their constituencies among the '-dmma were 
manifesting seemingly inexhaustible dumb insolence 
in defence of their personal God and the lowbrow 
accretions that went with Him. With the advent of the 
apoplexy of Ibn Abl Du>ad, al-Mutawakkil can only 
have felt that he had more to gain than to lose by put- 
ting an end to the whole unfortunate affair. 

The principal consequences of the failure of the 
mihna are clear enough: it brought to a decisive end 
any notion of a caliphal role in the definition of Islam 
and it permitted the unchecked development of what 
in due course would become recognisable as Sunnism. 
The Mu c tazila and what they stood for were 
discredited, while populist sentiments and what 
passed as Prophetic hadith were the order of the day. 
It was now unquestionably the 'ulamd*, rather than 
the caliphs, who were "the legatees of the prophets" 
(warathat al-anbiyd*); and henceforward it would be 
they who, armed with this spiritual authority, and at 
a distance from those who held temporal power, 
elaborated classical Islam. 

Bibliography: (1) Sources: Abu 'l- c Arab, Kitab 
al-Mihan, ed. Y.W. al-Djuburl, Beirut 1983; Abu 
Nu'aym al-Isfahani, Hilyat al-awliyd* wa-tabakat al- 
asjiya\ Cairo 1932-8; Balkhi, FaddHl-i Balkh, ed. 
C A.-H. Hablbl, Tehran 1350 A.S.H; Djahiz, FT 
khalk al-Kur^an, in RasiHl, ed. H. al-Sandubl, Cairo 
1933, 147 ff. (= ed. C A.S.M. Harfn, iii, Cairo 
1979, 285 ff.); Hanbal b. Ishak b. Hanbal, Dhikr 
mihnat al-Imdm Ahmad b. Hanbal, ed. M. Naghash, 
Cairo 1977; Ibn Abi '1-Wafa', al-Djawahir al-mudPa 
ft tabakdt al-Hanafiyya, Hyderabad 1332; Ibn al- 
Djawzl, Manakib al-Imdm Ahmad b. Hanbal, ed. 
M.A. al-Khandji al-Kutubl, Cairo 1931; Ibn 
Hadjar al- c AskalanI, Tahdib al-tahdhib, Hyderabad 
1325-7; Ibn al-Murtada, Tabakdt al-MuHazila, ed. S. 
Diwald-Wilzer, Wiesbaden 1961; Ibn TaghrlbirdT, 
al-Nudjum al-zdhira fi muluk Mist wa 'l-Kahira, Cairo 
1929-72; al-Khatlb al-Baghdadl, TaMkh Baghdad, 
Cairo 1931; al-Kindi, The governors and judges of 
Egypt, ed. R. Guest, London-Leiden 1912; 
Mas c udr, Murdgj al-dhahab, ed. Ch. Pellat, Beirut 
1966-79; Salihb. Ahmad b. Hanbal, Siral Ahmad b. 
Hanbal, published in A.A.-Dj. al-Dumi, Ahmad b. 

Hanbal bayna mihnat al-din wa-mihnat al-dunya, Cairo 
1961, 265 ff.; Subkl, Tabakdt al-Sjidfi^yya al-kubra, 
ed. A.-F.M. al-Hilw and M. al-Tannahi, Cairo 
1964-76; Tabari, Ta^nkh al-rusul wa'l-muluk; Tdrikh- 
iSTstan, ed. M.T. Bahar, Tehran 1314 A.S.H. (tr. 
M. Gold, Rome 1976); WakT<, Akhbdr al-kuddt, ed. 
C A.- C A.M. al-Maraghi, Cairo 1947-50; Ya c kubl, 

(ii) Modern studies: W.M. Patton, Ahmed Ibn 
Hanbal and the Mihna, Leiden 1897; J. Schacht, The 
origins of Muhammadan jurisprudence, Oxford 1950; D. 
Sourdel, La politique religieuse du calif e '■abbaside al- 
Ma'mun, in REI, xxx (1962); M. Talbi, L'emirat 
aghlabide, 184-2961800-909; histoire politique, Paris 
1966; J. van Ess, Dirar b. c Amr und die "Cahmiya", 
in Isl. xliii (1967) and xliv (1968); W.M. Watt, The 
formative period of Islamic thought, Edinburgh 1973; 
W. Madelung, The controversy on the creation of the 
Koran, in Orientalia Hispanica sive sludia F.M. Pareja 
octogenaria dicata, ed. J.M. Barral, i, Leiden 1974; 
I.M. Lapidus, The separation of state and religion in the 
development of early Islamic society, in IJMES, vi 
(1975); P. Crone and M. Hinds, God's Caliph: 
religious authority in the first centuries of Islam, Cam- 
bridge 1986. 

(iii) Additional references: M.O. Abusaq, The 
politics of the Mihna, Ph.D. diss., Edinburgh 1973, 
unpubl.; T. Nagel, Rechtleitung und Kalifat, Bonn 
1975, index s.v. mihna. For instances of mihna in the 
Mamluk period, see E. Strauss, L 'inquisition dans 
Vital mamlouk, in RSO, xxv (1950); D.P. Little, The 
historical and historiographical significance of the detention 
of Ibn Taymiyya, in IJMES, iv (1973); and U. Haar- 
mann, Die Leiden des Qadi Ibn as-SdHg, in Studien zur 
Geschichte und Kultur des Vorderen Orients, ed. H.R. 
Roemer and A. Noth, Leiden 1981. 

(M. Hinds) 
MIHR [see ta>rIkh]. 

MIHR-I MAH SULTAN, daughter of the 
Ottoman sultan Siileyman II the Magnificent 
(926-74/1520-66). Mihr-i Mah (sometimes also writ- 
ten Mihr-u-mah: cf. Karacelebi-zade, Rawdat ul-ebrar, 
458) was the only daughter of Siileyman q. v. , as well 
as F. Babinger, in Master der Politik, iP, Berlin 1923, 

While still quite young she was married to the 
grand vizier Rustem Pasha (cf. Babinger, GOW, 81- 
2) at the beginning of December 1539 (cf. J.H. 
Mordtmann, in MSOS, xxxii, Part 2, 37), but the 

She used her enormous wealth— St. Gerlach in 1576 
estimated her daily income at not less than 2,000 
ducats (cf. Tagebuch, Frankfurt, 1674, 266)— for many 
pious endowments. Among these the most important 
were the two mosques built by her, one in Istanbul at 
the Adrianople gate {Edirne Kapusu DjamiH; cf. 
Ewliya, Seydhet-ndme, i, 165; Hafiz Hiiseyin, Hadikat 
al-djawamf, i, 24, and J. von Hammer, GOR, ix, 50, 
no. 1) and the other (Mihr-i Mah Sultan DjamiH; cf. 
Ewliya, op. cit., i, 472-3; Hafiz Hiiseyin, op. cit., ii, 
186, and von Hammer, GOR, ix, 128, no. 741) near 
the landing stage in Uskudar. The second was the 
work of the great architect Sinan [q.v.], who built it in 
954/1547 and also erected a palace for Mihr-i Mah in 
Uskudar near this mosque. After her husband's death 
(8 July 1561), Mihr-i Mah Sultan intervened in 
political matters on several occasions; for example, 
she continually urged upon her father that the con- 
quest of Malta should be one of the main undertak- 
ings of the Holy War and offered to equip 400 galleys 
for this campaign at her own expense. She was still 
alive at the reconciliation with her brother Selim and 


his accession. The correct date for her death, 25 Jan. 
1578, is given only by Gerlach, Tagebuch, 449; the 
date in Karafelebi-zade, op. cit. , 458, namely Dhu '1- 
Ka'da 984/20 January-18 February 1577, is a whole 
year off She was buried beside her father in his turbe 
(tomb-mosque) in Istanbul. From her marriage with 
Riistem Pasha, two sons and a daughter 'A'ishe 
Khanum were born; the latter married the grand 
vizier Semir Ahmed Pasha and then the Nishdndjt 
Feridun Ahmed Beg (see A.D. Alderson, The structure 
of the Ottoman dynasty, Oxford 1956, Table XXX). 
Bibliography: In addition to the references given 
in the article, see Mehmed Thureyya, Sidjill-i 
'othmant, i, 83; von Hammer, GOR, iii, 393, 425 
and passim ; a description of the circumcision 
festivals of her sons Djihangir and BayazTd is given 
in the Turkish ms. no. 34, fol. 43a if., in the Prus- 
sian State Library (cf. W. Pertsch, Verzeichnis, 66); 
Ahmed RefTk, Kadlnlar saltanati, Istanbul 
1332/1914; I.H. Uzuncarsili, Osmanh tarihi, Ankara 
1951-4, iii/1-2, index; Qagatay Ulucay, Haremden 
mektuplar, Istanbul 1956 (letters of Mihr-i Mah 
Sultan in the Topkapi Sarayi Archives); tA, s.v. 
Mihr-ii Mah Sultan (M. Cavid Baysun). 

(F. Babinger*) 
MIHRAB (a.), pi. mahdrib, the prayer niche in 
the mosque. 

Etymological origin of the word. In Islamic 
religious practice and in Islamic architecture, the 
word denotes "the highest place in a mosque", a 
"niche" which shows the direction of the kibla [q.v.], 
or "the station of the Imam in a mosque" (Lane, 
1865, 541). The word includes the radicals h-r-b, from 
which comes the verb hariba, which in Form I means 
"to be violently angry", "to be affected by canine 
madness"; in Form II "to provoke", "to sharpen", 
or "to excite s.o."; in Form III "to fight", "to wage 
war with ...", or "to battle with..." and in Form VI 
"to make war", or "to wage war with one another". 
Due to these definitions, some scholars expressed their 
doubts that mihrdb derives from the above verb. Lane 
put forward "... that the explanation of this is because 
the person praying wars with the devil and with 
himself by causing the attention of his heart" (loc. 
cit. ). A similar interpretation was offered by Goldziher 
when he suggested that the mihrdb was a "place of 
struggle", a "battlefield", and he referred to the 
Prophet Muhammad who said that "as blood cir- 
culates in people, likewise Satan circulates around 
them" (Goldziher, 1872, 220). The above explana- 
tions are clearly not satisfactory. It was because of this 

loan-word in Arabic. Dillman tried to connect it with 
the Ethiopian mek"erab (Dillman, 1865. 836). The 
possible Ethiopian origin of the wo 

with n 

1 by I 


after studying some early South . 
concluded that the word mihrdb at that time meant 
some kind of a building, but conceded that the origin 
of the word was still obscure (Praetorius, 1907, 621). 
Others, as e.g. Beer (1895, 19) and Daiches (1908, 
637-9) tried to connect it with Hebrew horbot which 
occurs several times in the Old Testament and means 
"ruins", "ruined cities", "ruined dwellings" or 
even "palaces" or "fortified buildings". This theory 
was again considered to be very unlikely by Noldeke 
(1910, 52). 

The majority of scholars have never doubted that 
the word is Arabic and, accordingly, have tried to find 
its provenance and original meaning by examining 
pre-Islamic Arab literature and one of the earliest and 
most important sources of the Islamic period, the 

Kur'an. Rhodokanakis was one of the first scholars to 
study these early sources and to publish his observa- 
tions in two articles. In the first article he concluded 
that the word in pre-Islamic literature meant a 
"palace", a "niche", a "recess" or a "room", a 
"balcony" or a "gallery". Then he quoted a sentence 
from the hadith where the word can be interpreted as 
"sanctuary" (Rhodokanakis, 1905, 296). In his 
second article, Rhodokanakis narrowed down the 
meaning of the word and suggested that it actually 
referred to a part of a king's or a prince's building, 
namely to a "meeting-room", or more precisely to a 

Kur'an, XXXIV, 12. Such throne-recesses can be 
found, Rhodokanakis continued, in the Umayyad 
palaces such as Kusayr 'Arara and Mshatta (we can 
now add also Khirbat al-Mafdjar). In other verses of 
the Kur'an, namely in XIX, 12, it refers to a "sanc- 
tuary", while in III, 36, the word is used for "a lady's 
private chamber" (see also Dozy, 1927, i, 265). 
Rhodokanakis mentions that in XXVIII, 21, it was 
not clear whether the Prophet meant a complete 
"palace" or only a "chamber" (Rhodokanakis, 1911, 
71). Horovitz referred to some of the occurrences in 
pre-Islamic poetry, among them one of al-A c sha's 
poems (al-Buhturi, Hamasa, CDIV, 4) where the 
word, he claimed, meant a "throne-recess" 
(Horovitz, 1927, 260). In a more recent article, Ser- 
jeant explained that the basic meaning was a "row of 
columns with their intervening spaces". He also sug- 
gested that under the Umayyads, "while retaining its 
other senses, it was the name given to the maksura 
\q.v.\ (Serjeant, 1959. 453). Mahmud C A1I Ghul 
claimed that the ancient South Arabian midhkan was 
almost identical in usage with the mihrdb. It was a kind 
of masdjid or musalld [q. vv.}, or even a "burial place in 
the shape of a portico, place for prayers, and services 
for the dead" (Ghul, 1962, 331-5). In connexion with 
this last interpretation, the present author in an article 
called attention to the fact that flat marble, stucco, 
stone, or faience mahdrib strongly resemble tomb- 
stones. Tombstones from early Islamic times onward 
frequently depict a mihrdb design. He re-examined 
one of al-A c sha's poems (al-Buhturi, Hamasa, CDIV, 
4) where the word mihrdb occurs and suggested that it 
can be interpreted as a "burial place", as opposed to 
Horovitz's explanation as a "throne-recess". Other 
literary examples also use the word in the same con- 
text (Fehervari, 1972, 241-54; also, idem, 1961, 32 
f,). From these interpretations it would appear that in 
pre- and in early Islamic times, the word mihrdb was 
basically used for a special place within a "palace" or 
in a "room"; it was "the highest", "the first" and 
"the most important place". At the same time it also 
denoted "the space between columns" and was 
equally used for a "burial place". Its architectural 
origin and introduction into Islamic religious prac- 
tices as the most prominent feature in a mosque 
should be examined from these various angles. 

Architectural origin. In his EP article on the 
mihrdb, Diez mentioned that orientalists and art 
historians give a twofold origin for the mihrdb: the 
Christian apse and the Buddhist niche (Diez, 1936, 
iii, 485). Both features were alien to the Arabs and 
were not required by Islamic religious practices. Thus 
it could never have been introduced and accepted by 
the early Muslims without an adequate theological 
explanation. As an architectural feature, 'the mihrdb is 
made up of three basic elements: an arch, the suppor- 
ting columns and capitals, and the space between 
them. Whether in a flat or in a recessed form, the 

The application of this feature can be as varied as the 
pre- and early Islamic meaning of the word suggests. 
The idea of a decorated recess or a doorway in the 
form of what we know and accept today as a mihrab 
goes back to remote antiquity in the Near East. In its 
secular sense it was used in palaces as a raised plat- 
form with a dome above supported by four columns 
under which the divine ruler carried out his most 
important functions (Smith, 1956, 197). It was a royal 
baldachin, "the first place" in a madjlis, a "throne- 
recess". In its religious context it was a "sanctuary", 
fixed or portable, under which the cult images were 
placed and were provided with a shelter. The tradition 
of these domical shelters can be traced back to some 
of the tent traditions of the Near East, particularly to 
those among the Semitic people (Smith, 1950, 43; 
idem, 1956, 197). Such domical tents or structures 
were also used over burial places. These ancient 
oriental traditions were later adopted by Judaism and 
Christianity. The direction of prayer and divine ser- 

added greater importance and widened the scope of 
these antique traditions. Orientation was especially 
important among the Semitic peoples and it was not 
a matter of choice. The Jews turned towards 
Jerusalem, and in this respect all monotheistic people 
looked up to the Jews and followed their practice 
(Krauss, 1922, 317). Early synagogues, however, had 
no orientation; only the prayer was directed towards 
Jerusalem. The Ark of the Law, the \ron ha-kodesh, 
had no permanent place in the building. It was only 
in the second phase of the development of synagogue 
architecture that it received a permanent station 
within the building, an apse or a niche which was 
orientated towards Jerusalem (Sukenik, 1934, 27). 
The earliest known synagogue with such an apse was 
excavated at Dura-Europos dating from the 3rd cen- 
tury A.D. (Lambert, 1950, 67-72; Goodenough, 
1953, figs. 594-5, 599). From subsequent centuries 
there are several other examples known, some of these 
depicting the Ark in mosaic decoration on the floor of 
the apse (Hachlili, 1976, 43-53). The essential part of 
these decorations include a pair (or two pairs) of col- 
umns supporting a semicircular arch framing a conch, 
while below, within the columns, the Ark is shown as 
a pair of doors, thus symbolising a doorway, the por- 
tal of the life beyond, or the "portal of the dead" 
(Goldman, 1966, 101 f.). Christianity followed the 
same tradition. Early churches had an east-west orien- 
tation, the entrance was facing the east and the altar 
was towards the west. There was usually an apse, a 
haykal, with a pulpit. Churches and funerary chapels 
(martyria) generally had a large dome in Syria and in 
Palestine, not because of the structural function but 
rather because of the importance attached to this form 
(Smith, 1950, 92). The domical form with a portal 
below was frequently depicted on coins from the 4th 
century A.D. onwards (Smith, 1950, figs. 17-21), and 
later appears on tombstones (Goldman, 1966, 105). 
The form of the Christian and Coptic apse was so 
strikingly similar to a mihrab that it was not surprising 

from Christian churches (Lammens, 1912, 246; 
Creswell, 1932, 98). 

The form was, however, not unfamiliar to the 
Arabs. Pre-Islamic sanctuaries in Arabia had a round 
tent, a kubba [q*v.] over their idols or over some of 
their burials (Lammens, 1920, 39-101; idem, 1926, 
39-173). It seems reasonable to surmise that the Arabs 
wanted to preserve this ancient Semitic Arabian 
custom, but intended to dress it in an Islamic garb by 
offering a new interpretation to the pagan tradition. 

By examining the life of the first Muslim community 
in Medina we may understand how and why this 
feature was adopted and introduced into Muslim 
religious practices. During his lifetime the Prophet 
was not only a religious leader, but also a statesman 
who used the first primitive mosque in Medina not 
only as a place for communal prayer but also for 
public ceremonies where he received delegations and 
delivered judgements. He used to sit on his minbar 
[q.v.] which was set against the tibia wall. Thus in the 

place was a mihrab. When the Prophet died he was 
buried in a room next to the kibla wall, whereby in 
every sense his grave was in a mihrab, coinciding with 
the definition of a "burial place". His. grave was most 
probably marked, we may presume, with a stone 
which included in its decoration all the elements 
already known from Judaic and Christian funerary 
art. That this must have been the case is perhaps 
attested by the references given by Ibn Rusta and Ibn 
Battuta (Fehervari, 1972, 252). Furthermore, there is 
ample evidence suggesting that early mahanb were not 
recessed niches but flat panels n 

History. Primitive Islam and the Umayyad 
period. After the Prophet's death, in the early 
primitive mosques the mihrab was indicated by a stripe 
of paint or by a block of stone embedded in the kibla 
wall. It appears that this practice was followed for a 
considerable time,_ since al-Makrfzt informs us that 
when c Amr b. al- c As built his mosque at Fustat in the 
winter of 20/641-2, he placed "no hollow mihrab'- in 
it (Khifat, », 247). In the Prophet's mosque at 
Medina, the kibla was indicated by a large block of 
stone which was first placed to the north, i.e. towards 
Jerusalem, but in the second year of the Hidjra was 
moved to the south side, facing Mecca (Burton, 1893, 
361). In the earliest mosque at Wasit, built by al- 
Hadjdjadj b. Yusuf [q.v.], the excavators found no 
mihrab recess (Safar, 1945, 20). This was also the case 
in the mosque of Banbhore in Pakistan, built at the 
end of the lst/early 8th century (anon., in Pakistan 
Archaeology, i [1964], 52). That must indicate that in 
both cases the kibla was most likely marked either by 
one or by a stripe of paint. 

The e 


chamber under the Kubbat al-$akhra [q.u.] in 
Jerusalem (PI. I, 1). Creswell has already indicated 
that this was most likely the earliest surviving mihrab. 
His argument was based on the shape of the arch, on 
the primitive Kufic inscription on the lintel, and the 
simple scroll motif on the arch and the rectangular 
frame (Creswell, 1932, i, 70, pi. 120a in ii; idem, 
1969, i/1, 100, fig. 374). Several other points can now 
be added to Creswell's remarks. The crenellations and 
pearl motifs on top of the panel recall pre-Islamic, i.e. 
Sasanid, monuments with identical decorations. The 
vertical bands down the pilasters are similar to those 
on the mosaics of the circular arcade and on the drum 
of the dome (Creswell, 1932, figs. 189-9, 201, 205, 
pis. 33b, 37b). Further evidence is provided by coins 
depicting mihrab designs on their reverse, most likely 
accepting the mihrab of Sulayman as their model 
(Miles, 1952, 156-71; idem, 1957, 187-209, nos. 7-8; 
idem, 1959, 208, pi. 1/1; Fehervari, 1961, 90-105). 
All of these coins are attributed to the period when 
c Abd al-Malik introduced his financial reforms in 

The first concave mihrab, i.e. mihrab mudjawwaf, was 
introduced by c Umar b. c Abd al- c Aziz, governor of 
Medina, when he rebuilt the Prophet's Mosque in 87- 

8/706-7 (al-MakrizI, KhiM, ii, 247; Ibn TaghribirdI, 
al-Nudjum al-zahira, i, 76). It was richly decorated with 
precious material (Sauvaget, 1947, 83-4). After that, 
semicircular maharib rapidly spread throughout the 
Muslim world. Such a mihrab was introduced into the 
Great or Umayyad Mosque at Damascus when al- 
Walld I took over the entire building and rebuilt it 
between 87/706 and 96/714-15. According to early 
accounts, it was set with jewels and precious stones. 
This mihrab was destroyed in 475/1082 and then was 
subsequently rebuilt but destroyed again by fire in 
1893. The 'third concave mihrab was built in the 
Mosque of c Amr at Fustat in 92/710. Semicircular 
maharib flanked by pairs of columns were found in 
almost all of the Umayyad desert palaces (Creswell, 
1932, fig. 438, pi. 120b, e; idem, 1969, i/2, figs. 538, 
638, pis. 66 f., 103e and 115b). The earliest surviving 
concave mihrab in a mosque is, according to Cresswell, 
in the Mosque of c Umar at Bosra, built during the late 
Umayyad period (1969 i/2, 489, fig. 544, pi. 809). 

c Irak. The KhassakI mihrab in Baghdad (PI. I, 2) 
is the earliest known surviving example in the coun- 
try, as it may date from the end of the Umayyad or 
from the beginning of the c Abbasid period (Sarre and 
Herzfeld, 1920, ii, 139-45, Abb. 185-7, Taf. XLV- 
XLVIa-d; Creswell, 1940. 35-6, fig. 26, pi. Ia-c; al- 
Tutunci, 54-62, figs. 3-5, pi. 4). It was carved out of 
a simple block of marble in a shallow semi-elliptical 
form. The spiral columns are crowned by acanthus 
capitals which support the bell-shaped niche-head, 
which is framed by a frieze of acanthus leafs, followed 
by a narrow stripe of astragals and a band of palmettes 
alternating with bunches of grapes. A vertical 
ornamental band runs down at the back, the lower 
part of which is missing. The most interesting part of 
the design is the shell which is contained within a 
horseshoe shape. The shell as niche-head occurred for 
the first time in a grotto at Baniyas in Syria, dating 
from the 1st century B.C. (Wheeler, 1857, 37). Later, 
it was frequently used in classical art but was more 
popular in the eastern part of the Roman Empire. 
The motif was associated with funerary monuments 
and as such was often depicted in Jewish and in early 
Christian sepulchral art. The rounded shape of this 
mihrab and the fact that it was made of marble, which 
was not available in c Irak, may indicate that it was 
imported from Syria or from the southern part of Asia 
Minor. As a rule, mihrab niches are rectangular in 
c Irak and in Persia. The origin of this form may be 
found either in the rectangular recesses of Nestorian 
churches in c Irak or in the Persian iwan [q.v.]. The 
earliest known rectangular mihrab in the country sur- 
vives in the fortress palace of Ukhaydir. dating from 
the latter half of the 2nd/8th century (Creswell, 1940, 
pi. 120e; al-Tutuncf, figs. 6-9, pi. 5). Maharib which 
were erected in mosques, palaces and in private 
houses at Samarra mark the first turning point in the 
development of this feature in Islamic religious 
architecture. The significant role of the maharib was 
emphasised by their size, which became considerably 
larger during the 3rd/9th century, e.g. in the Great 
Mosque of Samarra (Creswell, 1940, pi. 66c) or in the 
Mosque of Aba Dulaf, where the excavators 
discovered two mihrabs, one within the other (Francis, 
1947, pis. 5/1-2; al-TutuncT, figs. 15-7, pi. 9). By 
then, they were more lavishly decorated with carved 
stucco. A large mihrab with stucco decoration was 
excavated in the Djawsak al-Khakani palace in 
Samarra, built by the caliph al-Mu c tasim between 
224/838 and 228/842, close to his throne-room. The 
niche was more than one metre deep and was flanked 
by two pairs of columns. The walls of the niche and 

the columns were coated with stucco (Herzfeld, 1923, 
Abb. 132; Creswell, 1940, fig. 191). Flat mihrab panels 
were used in smaller mosques, mausolea and in 
private houses. The prototype for these flat maharib 
was clearly provided by the mihrab of Sulayman in 
Jerusalem. Evidence for this is to be found in the 
mihrab of the Djami' al- c Umariyya at Mawsil. It is 
made up of six panels, the lowest central one being the 
earliest, probably of the 3rd/9th century, and a close 
copy of Jerusalem flat mihrab (Sarre and Herzfeld, 
1911, ii, 285-6, Abb. 275, Taf. CXXXV). Several 
stucco Hat maharib were discovered in private houses 
in Samarra, presenting all the three styles of the 
Samarra stucco decorations (Herzfeld, 1923, Abb. 
167-70, 269-60, 316, Taf. LXII and XCVII). An 
interesting combination of flat maharib can be seen in 
two small mausolea in Mawsil, the Mausoleum of 
Yahya b. Kasim (PI. II, 3) and in the Mausoleum of 
Imam 'Awn al-DIn (al Tutunci, fig. 59, pi. 34), both 
erected during the 7th/13th century (Sarre and Herz- 
feld, 1911, 249, 263-8, Taf. CXXXV). These two 
maharib are almost identical. They are made up of two 
flat panels showing the correct kibla direction. In each 

Out of the later rectangular maharib in c Irak, men- 
tion should be made of the main prayer niche of the 
Great Mosque in Mawsil which appears to be a com- 
bination of flat and rectangular types (al-TutuncT, 
figs. 34-6, pis. 17-9). It is flanked by a pair of 
octagonal pilasters decorated by intertwined scrolls 
and crowned by what Herzfeld called "lyra" capitals 
(Sarre and Herzfeld, 1911, ii, Abb. 230-3). The span- 
drels and the canopy have rich arabesque decoration. 
Below, at the back of the recess there is a decorated 
panel showing a pair of spiral pilasters on bell-shaped 
bases and topped by identical capital 



egarded as a transitional form 
between the simple and multi-recessed maharib that 
played an important role later in Persian religious 
architecture. The inscription round the niche bears 
the signature of the artist, one Mustafa from 
Baghdad, and the date 543/1148 (Van Berchem in 
Sarre and Herzfeld, 1911, i, 17; Herzfeld, 1911, ii, 
216-24). There 

f this 

: Mos 

Mawsil, but it was moved to the c Abbasid Palace 
Museum in Baghdad. It was attributed to Nur al-DIn 
Arslan Shah I (589-607/1193-1211). It has two 
recesses, the outer one being rectangular in plan while 
the inner one set back from it is pentagonal. There is 
an interesting innovation here, namely, the frame is 
composed of small compartments (Sarre and Herz- 
feld, 1911, i, 18, ii, 227, Taf. V; Francis, 1951, pi. 3, 
no. 10; al-TutuncJ, fig. 38, pi. 20). A similar frame, 
but decorated with human figures, appears around a 
niche that was discovered near Sindjar on the site of 
Gu Kummat and which might have been a mihrab 
(Reitlinger, 1938, 151-3, figs. 14-7; Francis, 1951, pi. 
5, no. 16; al-TutuncT, figs. 39-9, pis. 29-30). The 
marble mihrab of the Pandja C A1T in Mawsil (built in 
686/1287) can be regarded almost as a triple mihrab 
since the central pentagonal recess is flanked by a 
small niche on either side. All three recesses are 
crowned by mukarnas [q.v.] semi-domes, while each 
panel in the central niche is decorated by a hanging 
mosque-lamp (Sarre and Herzfeld, 1911, ii, 270-8, 
fig. 268, Taf. VII; Francis, 1951, pi. 2, no. 5). 

Syria and Palestine. Maharib were usually con- 
cave in these countries, but flat panels were used from 
time to time. A small and somewhat simple marble 

mihrab panel decorates the first pilaster under the 
western portico in the Umayyad Mosque in 
Damascus. It is attributed to the Tulunid period 
(Creswell, 1940, ii, pi. 123c). Another flat mihrab, a 
stucco panel, probably of the same period, is in the 
Makam c Abd al- c Aziz at al-Gharra. Two pairs of 
pilasters support the rectangular frame which sur- 
rounds the richly decorated canopy and spandrels 
(Herzfeld, 1910, 53-6, Abb. 18, Taf. IV-V; idem, 
1923, Taf. LXXVIII; Creswell, 1940, 356, pi. 121c). 
Rectangular maharib with stucco decoration came to 
light during the excavations at Meskene, ancient Balis 
[see maskana]. One of these was in the central room 
of the Great Mosque. Another triple mihrab with a 
central deeper rectangular recess flanked by shallow 
openings was found in room no. 1 , while a third one 
was in room no. 2 (Salles, 1939, 221-4, pis. XCIXa-b, 
Ca). Two stucco mihrdbs, almost identical in shape 
and decoration were discovered at Palmyra. The 
shallow semicircular niches are flanked by pairs of 
pilasters supporting round arches, with shell-shaped 
canopies inside. The spandrels have arabesque 
decoration and the panels are surrounded by floriated 
Kufic inscriptions. Marble coating for maharlb was 
first introduced in Syria, which was always rich in this 
material. As one of the possible prototypes and 
earliest examples for these polychrome marble-lined 
maharib, the one in the Madrasa Shadbakhtiyya in 
Aleppo, made of polychrome stones, should be con- 
sidered. An interesting innovation can be observed 
here: the upper part of the mihrab, namely the rec- 
tangular frame surrounding the spandrels, is much 
wider than the lower part (Herzfeld, 1942, fig. 72; 
Sauvaget, 1931, 79, no. 21; Creswell, 1959, 103). The 
same form can be observed in the polychrome marble- 
lined mihrab of the Madrasa Sultaniyya in Aleppo, 
dated 620/1223 (Herzfeld, 1921, 144; Creswell, 1959, 
102). A slightly earlier and similar example can be 
found in the Madrasa Ashrafiyya (607/1210). 
Polychrome marble work, however, reached its 
apogee in the mihrab of the Madrasa al-Firdaws, 
erected in 633/1235 (PI. II, 4). It is the most 
developed and the largest of the polychrome marble 
prayer niches. The spandrels depict skilfully 
interlaced ornaments, the lines of which also form the 
frame of the upper part. Above there is a semi-circular 
panel filled by three coloured interlacing patterns and 
framed by an inscription. This type of marble- work 
found its way to Egypt and greatly influenced the 
decoration of later Ayyubid and Mamluk maharib in 
Cairo. An interesting example of polychrome marble- 
work is a small flat mihrab in the courtyard of the 
Bimaristan Nur al-DIn in Damascus which was built 
in 549/1152. It is of white marble, but the arch and 
the spandrels have polychrome marble decoration. 
Creswell attributed it to Mahmud b. Zanki b. 
Aksunkur, whose name appears in an inscription on 
the building and the date of construction. Creswell 
has also suggested that this was the earliest marble 
mosaic work (Creswell, 1959, 202). On stylistic 
grounds, however, Herzfeld claimed that it must have 
been erected at least a century later, possibly in the 
late 7th/13th century (Herzfeld, 1942, 10). 

Egypt. The first concave mihrab in the country was 
built by Kurra b. Shank [q.v.], governor of Egypt, in 
92/710-11, in the Mosque of 'Ami at Fustat. The 
structure of the main mihrab in the Mosque of Ibn 
Tulun (265/878-9) is original and so are its four flank- 
ing columns and capitals. The polychrome marble of 
the recess and the wooden lining of the canopy and 
that on the archivolt are later in date (Creswell, 1940, 
348-9, pi. 122; Fattal, 1960, 22-4, pis. 10-11). There 

are five flat maharib in the mosque, two of which are 
contemporary with the building. They are placed on 
piers in the fourth arcade of the sanctuary. One of 
them is badly damaged, but the other one is well pre- 
served (Creswell, 1940, 349, pis. 123a-b; Fattal, 1960, 
24-5, pis. 17, 18 and 29). The two panels must have 
been almost identical. A pair of pilasters on bell- 
shaped bases and topped by identical capitals support 
a pointed arch, the outline of which can also be 
observed on the damaged panel. A row of pearl motifs 
provides the border for both and an inscription runs 
across on top. A difference can be noted in the decora- 
tion of the spandrels and in the spaces below the 
arches within the pilasters. In both instances the influ- 
ence of Samarra is obvious, just as it is evident in the 
overall plan and decoration of the mosque. The main 
mihrab of the Mosque of al-Azhar, built between 
359/969-70 and 361/971-2, although several times 
altered and restored, still retains some of its original 
decoration. The canopy with its elaborate and deeply- 
cut floral design, the soffit of its arch covered by finely 
executed scrollwork, together with the floriated Kufic 
inscription on the archivolt, are most probably of the 
same period as the mosque (Creswell, 1952, 55-6, pis. 
4a, 7c; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 1976, fig. 22). 
This original stucco work was covered by a wooden 
lining until 1933 (for a picture of this, see Hautecour 
and Wiet, 1932, ii, pi. 91). The marble lining of the 
niche and the flanking columns are much later in 

One of the finest stucco maharib in Cairo which sur- 
vives in its original form, is that of the Mosque of al- 
Djuyushi, built in 478/1085 (PI. Ill, 5). Its stucco 
decoration, after that of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, 
and that of the al-Azhar, is the third outstanding 
example in Egypt. The design here is nevertheless 
richer and more refined (Creswell, 1952, 157-9, fig. 
80, pis. 48c, 116a; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 80, 
figs. 31-2). None of the prayer niches built in Egypt 
in the following two centuries has ever surpassed it. 
The decoration of the Sayyida c Atika, built during the 
first quarter of the 6th/12th century, is more 

which is an epigraphic band, does not surround the 
entire niche, but only its stilted and pointed arch; then 
it turns at right angles and runs all around the 
interior. Furthermore, in the spandrels there are large 
fluted paterae in high relief surrounded by pearl 
motifs. Finally, above there is a geometric band of 
overlapping ovals (Creswell, 1952, 229-30, pis. 80e, 
117b). Somewhat similar but more elaborate patterns 
appear above the maharib of the Mausoleum of 
Sayyida Rukayya, built in 527/1133 (PI. Ill, 6). The 
horizontal panel over these maharib recall the Samarra 
ornaments (Creswell, 1952, 249, fig. 143, pis. 87b, 
119c-d, 120a; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 82, figs. 
37-8). All the recesses in this building have scalloped 
canopies. Three phases can be observed in the 
development of these canopies. In the first phase, the 
slightly projecting frame follows the outline of the 
scallop. One of the earliest examples of this is the 
mihrab of Umm Kulthum, built in 516/1 122 (Creswell, 
1952, 239-40, fig. 135, pis. 82b, 118b). The second 
phase of the development is connected with the 
mukarnas, where the frame of the scallop is combined 
with mukarnas cones, placed in one, two or three lines 
above the other (e.g. the maharib of the Sayyida 
Rukayya). The third phase was used in Turkey and 
will be discussed further below. There are two stucco 
mihrabs in Cairo which present a special group. They 
are triple-recessed. The earlier of these two is in the 
mausoleum of Ikhwat Yusuf, built during the last 

quarter of the 6th/ 12th century (Creswell, 1952, 235- 
6, pi. 118a). These recesses here are plain, but their 

floriated Kufic which runs all around the interior of 
the building. The spandrels are filled by carefully- 
executed arabesques which are comparable to earlier 
stucco work in Cairo and accordingly may indicate an 
earlier date for this mihrdb. The decoration of the 
second triple-m</irdA, in the mausoleum of Mustafa 
Pasha (middle of the 7th/13th century), is so deeply 
cut that it looks like openwork. The recesses here have 
keel-arches which most probably originated in Egypt 
and were widely used there during the 6th/12th and 
7th/13th centuries (Creswell, 1959, 178-80, pis. 57c, 
107c). An interesting and somewhat bold experiment 
can be observed in the mihrdb of the mausoleum of 
Ahmad b. Sulayman al-Rifa c I, erected in 690/1291 
(PI. IV, 7). The kibla wall has pieces of glass 
embedded in the stucco background and these are 
painted in green (Creswell, 1959, 220-1, pi. 109c; 
Lamm, 1927, 36-43). The experiment was not suc- 
cessful and was never attempted again. 

It has already been pointed out that the polychrome 
marble-work of Syria had greatly influenced mihrdb 
decorations in Egypt from the mid-7th/13th century 
onwards. One of the earliest examples is the com- 
paratively simple but very large mihrdb in the 
mausoleum of Nadjm al-DIn, built in 647-8/1249-50 
(Creswell, 1959, 102, pi. 106c). A marble lining for 
the main mihrdb of the Mosque of Ibn Tulun was 
executed at the order of Ladjfn [q. v. ] in the same year, 
and that of the Mosque of al-Azhar in 665/1266. The 
mihrdb of the Madrasa of Kalawun [q.v. ] and the 
almost identical one in his mausoleum, both erected 
in 684/1285 (PI. IV, 8), are perhaps the most out- 
standing examples of polychrome marble work in 
Egypt. Both niches are of horseshoe shape instead of 

the mausoleum there are four rows of small arcades, 
each crowned by a shell, while in that of the madrasa 
there are only two rows. The canopies and the span- 
drels of these two mihrdbs are covered with gold 
mosaic, showing grapes and vine leaves. The arches 
are also horseshoe-shaped, being made up of white 
and coloured voussoirs. The influence of the Maghrib 
is well demonstrated here in the shape of the niches 
and the arches and the coloured voussoirs, while the 
row of small arcades reveals Syrian traditions 
(Creswell, 1959, 202, pis. 108b, c). 

Maghrib. The earliest known surviving mihrdb in 
the Maghrib is in the Mosque of Bu Fatata at Susa in 
Tunisia, erected between 223/838 and 226/841. It is 
alow plain niche of horseshoe form with an arch of the 
same shape (Creswell, 1940, 247, pis. 58e, 121a; Hill, 
Golvin and Hillenbrand, fig. 129). In the Great 
Mosque of Susa we find for the first time a mihrdb in 
front of which a dome was built (Hill, Golvin and 
Hillenbrand, 100-1, figs. 140-1). This example was 
shortly followed in the Great Mosque of Kayrawan, 
when it was rebuilt by Abu Ibrahim Ahmad II. He 
was also responsible for the decoration of the new 
mihrdb. The niche has a horseshoe form flanked by a 
pair of marble columns crowned by Byzantine-style 
capitals supporting a horseshoe arch (Creswell, 1940, 
308-14, fig. 232, pi. 121b; Marcais, 1926, i, 19-22, 68 
f., figs. 7, 36; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 92-3, 
figs. 96-9). The canopy has wooden panelling which 
was most probably added later. The walls of the niche 
are covered with marble openwork. The archivolt and 
the surface of the mihrdb are adorned with polychrome 
and monochrome lustre tiles imported from c Irak in 
248/862-3 (Marcais, 1928). The date of these tiles and 

the i 


jvertheless, i 

tiles are related to those excavated at Samarra. 
Another horseshoe-shaped mihrdb is that in the Great 
Mosque of Cordova (PI. V, 9), which was erected and 
decorated at the order of al-Hakam II in 354/965 
(Marcais, 1926, i, 222 f., 264-66, figs. 146, 154; 
Creswell, 1940, 143). This mihrdb is remarkable in its 
size and in its extremely rich decoration of 
polychrome marble and gold mosaics. Several new 
decorative features which appeared here for the first 
time were accepted and applied to later mahdnb in the 
Maghrib. The niche itself is very spacious and high, 
crowned by a complete dome, the earliest such exam- 
ple in a mihrdb niche. The lower part of the niche has 
plain marble panels, followed by a cornice with a 
Kufic inscription. Above there are seven trefoil arches 
supported by marble columns with gold capitals. 
These arches are almost identical to those which 
decorate the upper part of the mihrdb. Inside the 
arcade there are floral decorations in Byzantine style. 
The horseshoe arch rests on the wall and on two pairs 
of marble columns, one behind the other. The 
archivolt is decorated with voussoir stones, all with 
rich floral designs, and in white and in polychrome 
alternately. Acanthus scrolls with a rosette decorate 
the spandrels. The cusped arcades inside the niche 
and on top of the mihrdb are most probably imitations 
of the false window-openings found over the library 
portal in the Great Mosque of Kayrawan (Terrasse, 
1932, 110); but as Marcais once suggested, they can 
ultimately be traced back to Syria (Marcais, 1926, i, 
266, n. 1, fig. 147). The mihrdb is one of the most 
beautiful examples in the whole Muslim world. Its 
form and decorative style has several times been 

surpassed. Certain elements in this mihrdb like the 
horseshoe form of the recess, the cusped arches inside 
and on top of the mihrdb, the broad archivolt with 
voussoir stones and floral decorations became the 
accepted features of later mahdrib in the Maghrib, 
the Great Mosque of Tlemcen ii 

in Cor 

530/1135. Thee 
and cusped archivolt closely resembles that of Cor- 
dova but is more elaborate, although executed only in 
stucco. The arch and the spandrels are surrounded, as 
Cordova, with an epigraphic band of floriated 

:. The i 



lal, £ 

to be frequently used in the Maghrib and also in 
Turkey. The niche is flanked by an opening on either 
side giving access all round the mihrdb (W. and G. 
Marcais, 1903, 140 f.; Marcais, 1926, i, 313 f., figs. 
213-4, 381-5; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 111, figs. 
208-9). This mihrdb in Tlemcen is clearly a deliberate 
copy of the Cordova mihrdb, albeit executed in cheaper 

e detail 

appeared here, 
but in more developed forms, and were used again in 
later examples. These can be best observed in the 
mihrdb of the Kutubiyya Mosque in Marrakesh, built 
ca. 541/1146 (Marcais, 1926, i, 321 f., fig. 179; Hill, 
Golvin and Hillenbrand, 125: Basset and Terrasse, 
1926, 119). The canopy here is decorated with a 
mukarnas, as is the large dome in front of the mihrdb. 
The mukarnas was a new feature in the architecture of 
the Maghrib and was introduced there during the first 
half of the 6th/12th century. The horseshoe arch of the 
' ' ;. The 

i on thre. 

is decorated v 
I frame filled 
cis surrounds the 


while above there are five blind window-openings 
with lobed arches. In the Great Mosque of Tinmal in 
the High Atlas, the mihrab, built in 548/1153, closely 
resembles that of the Kutubiyya. The same 
arrangements, sc. a mukarnas canopy inside the pen- 
tagonal niche, a similarly decorated dome in front of 
the mihrab, and a horseshoe arch supported by three 
pairs of pilasters and a frame not unlike that in the 
Kutubiyya, can be observed here. Again there are 
flanking niches and an open path behind, once more 
presenting a free-standing mihrab (Marcais, 1926, i, 
323, 385, figs. 181, 216-17; Hill, Golvin and Hillen- 
brand, 128, figs. 472-3). There is another mihrab in 
the Mosque of Ya c kub al-Mansur (also known as the 
Mosque of the Kasba) in Marrakesh, which 
stylistically is related to this group. This is perhaps the 
latest example of this type.' It was built in 592/1195 
(Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, fig. 413). 

In southern Tunisia, at Tozeur, the mihrab built in 
592/1195 represents an entirely different type. The 
pentagonal recess is considerably smaller than any of 
the previous examples, and is crowned by a semi- 
dome coated with carefully-carved stucco decoration 
of floral designs and epigraphic bands. The horseshoe 
arch has an incomplete double archivolt interrupted 
by the attached rectangular frame. Once again the 
floral decoration of the wedge-shaped compartments 
on the archivolt recalls Cordova (Marcais, 1926, i, 
385-94, fig. 218; Hill, Golvin and Hillenbrand, 107, 
figs. 174-6). The unusual form and decoration of this 
mihrab was due to an Almoravid patron and to the 
presence of Andalusian craftsmen. 

Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. During 
the last two or three decades, several new monuments, 
among them mosques and mausolea, have been 
discovered and excavated in this area. The mosque 
known as the Tari Khana in Damghan, built proba- 
bly during the latter half of the 2nd/8th century, no 
longer stands alone as an early mosque in Iran. The 
comparatively deep rectangular recess with an oblique 
wall at its back for correcting the kibla direction, may 
be regarded as the original mihrab in this mosque. It 
has no decoration now, but we may presume that once 
it was coated with stucco (Godard, 1934, 226; Survey, 
933-4). The recently-excavated Great Mosque in Slraf 
(late 2nd/8th or early 3rd/9th century) had a rec- 
tangular mihrab but only the foundation walls were 
discovered in situ (Whitehouse, 1970, 2 f., figs. 1-2). 
The Masdjid-i Djami c in Fahradj near Yazd (proba- 
bly of the 3rd/9th century) has its main mihrab in the 
original place but the walls are of more recent date 
(Pirniya, 1349/1970, 2-13; Alfieri, 1977, 65-76, pis. 
X, XIa, b; Shokoohy, 1978, 67, pi. 106). In the old 
part of the Masdjid-i Djami c in Shiraz the tilted back 
wall of the niche, together with the horseshoe arch and 
the fragmentary stucco decoration on its soffit were 
regarded as original and dated to the end of the 
3rd/9th century (Pope, 1934, 324; idem, Survey, 1264- 
6, fig. 455, pis. 259A-B; idem, 1965, 80-1, fig. 75). As 
far as it is known today, the mihrab of the Masdjid-i 
Djami c of Nayin is the earliest example surviving in 
its original form (PI. V, 10). It is a double-recessed 
rectangular niche, the prototype of which may be 
found in the Djawsak al-Khakanl, mentioned above. 
The canopies, frame, columns and capitals are 
covered with stucco. Unfortunately, the decoration is 
missing from the lower part of the inner pair of col- 
umns and from the back wall of the niche. 
Stylistically, this mihrab was dated to the latter part of 
the 4th/10th century (Flury, 1921, 230-4, 305-16; 
Survey, fig. 921, pis. 265B, 267, 269A-D, 511B-C; 
Pope, 1965, 84, fig. 76). Details of the stucco patterns 

can be traced back to Samarra, but here they appear 
in a more developed form. 

Later mahdrib were double- or triple-recessed, e.g. 
like that in Mashhad-i Misriyan [q.v.] in Soviet Cen- 
tral Asia, dated to the end of the 5th/llth century 
(Kotov, 1939, 10-8, pis. XLV-XLVIII; Survey, 2721- 
5, figs. 922-4; Pugacenkova, 1958, 169-74). The 
decorative patterns are similar to those of Nayin. 
Stucco mahdrib have also been discovered in 
Afghanistan. One of them was excavated in the 
Audience Hall in the Great Palace at Lashkari Bazar 
[q.v.] (Schlumberger and Sourdel-Thomine, 1978, 
i/B, 39 f., pis. 73d, 147-9), and it was attributed to the 
Ghaznavid period. Two small mausolea at Sar-i Pul 
in northern Afghanistan had fine stucco mihrabs with 
inscriptions. These inscriptions were published by 
Bivar, who suggested that one of these two mausolea, 
namely the Imam-i Khurd and its mihrab (PI. VI, 1 1) 
cannot be earlier than 450/1058-9, while the second 
one in the Ziyarat of Imam-i Kalan most likely dates 
from the 6th/12th century (Bivar, 1966, 57-63). 
Unfortunately, both mihrabs have disappeared during 
the last few years (Shokoohy, 1978, 110-11, figs. 88- 
94, pis. 193-4, colour pi. 47). The mihrab of the 
Masdjid-i Djami c of Zawara, dated 551/1156-7 
(Godard, 1936, fig. 199) and those in the Masdjid-i 
Djami c in Ardistan (553-5/1158-60); Godard, 1936, 
fig. 195; Survey, pis. 322-4) may be regarded as com- 
binations of flat and multi-recessed mahdrib. The 
mihrab of the Imamzada Karrar at Buzan (now in the 
Archaeological Museum in Tehran, ace. no. 3268) 
should also be mentioned. The niche is very deep like 
an iwdn, and it is covered by a vault instead of a semi- 
dome. A floriated Kufic inscription in the frame gives 
the date of construction as 528/1143. This inscription 
is very interesting since the hastae of the letters end in 
human heads. The stucco work here is richer and 
more refined than in any of the previous examples, 
showing the wide scope of this technique (Pope, 1934, 
114; Smith, 1935, 65-81; Survey, pis. 331A-C, 312A). 
The two most outstanding stucco mihrabs in Iran are 
those in the Madrasa Haydariyya in Kazwin and in 
the Gunbad-i 'Alawiyan in Hamadan. Both are 
remarkable not only because of their enormous size, 
but mainly because of the extreme refinement of the 

posed in two or three layers. In Kazwin, the lower 
part of the mihrab is missing, but the remaining upper 
half indicates that stucco work may very well have 
been at its finest here (Godard, 1936, 200, fig. 136; 
Survey, pis. 313A, 316A-C, 512D). The mihrab in the 
Gunbad-i c Alawiyan in Hamadan perhaps does not 
surpass that of Kazwin, but certainly comes close to it 
(Herzfeld, 1922, 86-99; Survey, pis. 330, 331A-B; 
Wilber, 1959, 151-2, fig. 116, cat. no. 55). Herzfeld 
and Wilber attributed this latter mihrab to the II- 
Khanid period, while Pope dated it to the end of the 
6th/12th century {Survey, 1301; idem, 1965, fig. 186). 
It seems most likely that both mihrabs were erected 
about the same time, before the Mongol invasion of 
Iran in 617/1220. With the coming of the Mongols, 
the style slowly changed, and that change is already 
apparent in the stucco mihrab of the Imamzada Abu '1- 
Fadl wa-Yahya in Mahallat Bala, dated to 700/1300 
(Wilber, 137, pi. 67, cat. no. 44), and in two others, 
one of them in an iwdn outside Shiraz (Fehervari, 
1969, 3-11; idem, 1972, fig. 8) and the other one in 
the Pars Museum (Fehervari, 1972, fig. 7). The finest 
example of Il-Khanid stucco mihrabs are in the 
Masdjid-i Djami< in Reza'iye (Rida'iyya) (Wilber, 
112-3, pi. 9, cat. no. 16), dated 676/1277 and in the 
Masdjid-i Djami c of Isfahan, built at the order of 

Oldjeytu Muhammad Khudabanda in 714/1314 
(Wilber, 141, pis. 87-8, cat. no. 48; Survey, pis. 396- 
397A-B; Pope, 1965, fig. 189. In both mihrabs, the 
stucco work is of superb quality and is executed in 
openwork. The gradual change in taste and style 
resulted in the application of two new techniques in 
the decoration of maharib: the usage of mosaic faience 
and the application of lustre tiles. 

Mosaic faience originated in Iran, and the earliest 
examples are to be found in the monuments of 
Khurasan and Central Asia dating from the 6th/12th 
and early 7th/13th centuries. The technique was, 
however, perfected and first applied in the decoration 
of maharib in Turkey (see below). Mosaic faience 

before the 8th/14th century. The earliest known such 
mihrab is in the Imamzada Shah Husayn in Waramln, 
erected ia. 730/1330 (Wilber, 1955, cat. no. 86, 177- 
8, pi. 184). Two other outstanding examples are in 
the Masdjid-i Djami c ot Yazd, dated 777/1375 (PI. 
VI, 12; Survey, pi. 443; Pope. 1965, 185, colour pi. 
VII and tig! 246), and the second one is in the 
Masdjid-i Djami c in Kirrnan. dated ca. 957/1550 

>, pis. 

, 540). 

were of carved stone or alabaster. Bv the 6th/ 12th cen- 
tury faience tiles were used, with the decoration in 
relief painted in cobalt blue or turquoise under the 
glaze. During the early 7th/13th century lustre paint- 
ing was introduced on these tiles. Occasionally cobalt 
blue and turquoise colours were added. There are 

were made up of several tiles. All of these were made 
in Kashan. One of the earliest dated large lustre 
maharib is preserved in the shrine of Imam Rida in 
Mashhad, dated Rabl< II 612/July 1215 (Donaldson, 
1935, 125-7; Bahrami, 1944-5, 37-8, pis. 20-1). These 
lustre tiles have recently been studied by O. Watson 
in great detail (see Watson, 1985) A somewhat 
unusual mihrab is the Masdjid-i c Alr in Kuhrud [q.v. | 
near Kashan (PI. VII, 13). The recess and the lower 
part of the labia wall are covered with monochrome- 
glazed and with some hundred lustre-painted tiles. 
Although the mihrab in its present form was built 
probably during the last ccnturv, some ol its lustre 
tiles bear the date of 700/1300.' At the back of the 

mihrab tile, slightly tilted for correcting the hbla 
direction, dated 708/1308 (Watson, 1975,^59-74. pis. 
la-c, Vd). 

Turkey. Early maharib in Anatolia were con- 
shallow recess which could be three-sided, such as the 
mihrab of the Ulu Cami in Erzurum, dated 575/1179 
(Unal, 1968, 31, fig. 20). Others are pentagonal, like- 
that of the c Ala 5 al-DTn Mosque in Nigde (620/1223), 
which is a double-recessed mihrab with both recesses 
crowned by mukarnat canopies (Gabriel, 1931, i, 120. 
pi. XXXVI). Maharib with mukamas canopies became 
popular in the country, and they were equally used in 
stone and in faience, and later in the Ottoman period 
in marble. Scalloped canopies were also used in 
Turkey, and here we find them in the third phase of 
their development (for the earlier two phases, set- 
above, under Egypt); they are all double-recessed, 
the inner recess is crowned by a scallop, while the arch 
of the outer niche is rusped. One such mihrab was 
placed in the Ulu Cami of Kiziltepe (Dunaysir), dated 
to 601/1204 (Gabriel. 1937; idem, 1940, i, 51, ii, pis. 
XXXI/1-2, XXXII/1-3). The second such mihrab is in 
the Madrasa Mas c udiyya in Diyarbakir, which is 
similar to the previous example (Gabriel, 1940. i, 197, 

i, pi. LXXIII/3; Bakirer, Kat. no. 20, 143-4, res. 55- 
', sek. 20). 

The second decorative technique applied for 
naharib in Turkey was mosaic faience. There are more 
han twenty such maharib known in the country (for a 
:omplete list of these, see Meinecke, 1976, and for tile 
vork in Turkey, Oney, 1976). The tiles were coloured 
n cobalt blue, turquoise, black, aubergine and white. 
They form epigraphic and geometric bands round the 
niches and cover the walls, the mukarnas canopy and 
the spandrels. The most beautiful of these faience 
maharib are in Konva, which was the capital of the 
Saldjuks of Rum. One such mihrab was installed in the 
Sadrettin Konevi, dated 673/1274-5 (PI. VII, 14; 
Meinecke, 1976, cat. no. 85, i, 64, ii, 352-5, Taf. 
36/4; Bakirer, Kat. no. 49, 182-3, res. 111-13, sek. 
49). Towards the end of the 7th/13th century, tiles 
were used together with stucco and terracotta, as is the 
case in the mihrab of the Arslanhane Cami in Ankara, 
built in 689/1290 (Otto-Dorn, 1957; Akurgal, Mango 
and Ettinghausen, 1966, 149, colour pi. on p. 132; 
Aslanapa, 1971, 121; Meinecke, cat. no. 18, i, 41-3, 
ii, 66-74, Taf. 8/3; Bakirer, Kat. no. 58, 196-8, res. 
132-4, sek. 58). In the 9th/15th century, faience 
mosaic is replaced by the cuerda seca technique, and 
perhaps one of the most beautiful maharib with such 
decoration is that of the Green Mosque in Bursa, 
dated 824/1421 (Oney, 1976, 62; Goodwin, 1971, 66, 
fig. 60; Aslanapa, 1971, fig. 214). Simultaneously 
with the cuerda seca, underglaze-painted tiles were also 



it know 


-.completed in 596/1 199- 
200. It reveals strong Hindu and Buddhist elements 
in its decoration and in its arch, which is cusped and 
is carved out of a single block of marble (Nath, 1978, 
17, pi. XXI). Three maharib in the tomb of Shams al- 
Dln Iltutmish (died in 633/1235) are more in the 
traditional Islamic styles and in a way serve as models 
for later Indian prayer niches. The central mihrab here 
(PI. VIII, 15) is a combination of a rectangular and 
a fiat mihrab. The frame is filled by an epigraphic 
band. The pair of polygonal and richly decorated col- 
umns and capitals support the cusped arch. The 

at the back, is filled with plaited Kufir. In the centre 
of the back panel there is a rosette in relief. Such pat- 

arib. It 

? that 


ot, th 

e black m 


ch is in thee 


hrdb of Su 


One of 


istics of 


Muslim a 


to place thre 

hdrib in the kibla 

all, as it 

been do 




lere th 

s princtple w 

as applied pe 

me. The lotus flower 

, a hang 

ing ii 


ip or a 

which a scro 

11 emerg 

come per 


' features of 

he back 


Is of later 


ches. S 

ns appe 

he five ma 

hdrib of 

e Roya 

Mosque, the 



a in DihlT 


by Sher Shah Sur ii 

ut 949/1542. The 

ahdrib o 

f the Kila-yi 


arc e 


n size. 

1964, 93, pi. LXII/2). By the late 9th/15th and ear 
10th/16th centuries, Persian influence becomi 
stronger and more apparent in Indo-Muslim archite 

ture. It was perhaps most obvious in the decoration of 
prayer niches. Most of the Indian elements were omit- 
ted and were replaced by Persian motifs. The cusped 
arch, however, remains. A good example for this 
strong Persian influence is the mihrdb of the Djami c 
Masdjid in Fathpur Sikri which is decorated with 
polychrome inlaid stonework and which reminds us of 
contemporary Safawid faience-tiled maharib (Brown, 
pi. LXXII/1). Later prayer niches in Agra and Dihli 
are built of marble and decorated in polychrome in 
the pietra dura technique. 

Wooden and portable maharib. Maharib either 
as large niches or small portable wooden panels 
appeared during the Fadmid period in Egypt. They 
were found in excavations in Fustat, but several 
others are known from later periods and are preserved 
in the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo (Weill, 1936, 
pi. X). Large wooden mihrdbs were also introduced 
and these were popular all over the Islamic world. 
One of the earliest of these large wooden maharib is 
from the Masdjid-i Maydan in Abyana in Iran, dated 
497/1103 (Ettinghausen, 1952, 77, pi. XII). An 
interesting wooden mihrdb was discovered in 
Afghanistan in the upper Logar Valley in the village 
of Carkh, in the Mosque of Shah Muhyl al-DIn. It has 
an overall geometrical decoration and an inscription 
in Kufic (PI. VIII, 16). It is dated to the 6th/12th cen- 
tury (Bombaci, 1959, figs. 13-4; Rogers, 1973, 249, 
no. 82). The wooden mihrdb of the Madrasa 
Halawiyya in Aleppo (dated 643/1245) is considerable 
in size, measuring 350 cm. in height and well over 100 
cm. in width. It is richly decorated with geometrical 
patterns and is inlaid with ivory (Guyer, 1914, 217- 
31; Sauvaget, 1931, no. 15). 

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Iran. The Il-Khanid period, Pr' 

MIHRAGAN (p. Mihr 


(G. 1 

k. Mihradjan 

Mazdaean festival dedicated to Mithra/Mihr, 
tionally celebrated in Iran around the autumn equ 
Its origins, its place in the calendar, its duratio 

of disc 

in toponymy, patronymy and music (see below, iv). 
i. The name of the festival. It comes from the 
Pahlavi mihrakanl mihragdn, ancient mithrakdna 
(Darmesteter, ii, 443), a noun derived from a proper 
noun, i.e. Mithra (Benveniste, 1966, 14; on the suffix 
akdna becoming agdn, of Parthian origin, see Gignoux, 
1979, 43 ff.). According to another attractive but 
faulty interpretation, the kdna component (no longer 
akdna) is a variant of ghna (Vedic han, Old Persianja/i) 
meaning to strike or kill; mithrakdna is then the killing 
(or sacrifice) for Mithra, the expression being parallel 
to that designating the Indo-Iranian god Verethragna 
(Campbell, 235; on Verethragna, slayer of dragons, 
and its dialectal variants, see Benveniste and Renou, 

68-90; Skjaervo, 192). In the Islamic period there no 
longer appears to be any reference to Mithra. The 
most prolific author on the pre-Islamic festival, al- 
Biruni, thinks that the Arabised form mihraajan means 
love (mihr) of the spirit or the soul (dj_dn; Athar, 223, tr. 
209; the majority of Muslim authors followed his 
interpretation, and the Persian poets often make 
mihrdian rhyme with mihrbdn, friendly, benevolent). 
However, the meaning "sun" has also been given for 
mihr and several myths which are associated with it 
(see below). Other interpretations which connect this 
name with death (mir) are equally erroneous (on tradi- 
tions and anecdotes reported by al-Blrunl and other 
authors, see Safa, 30; al-Mas c udI, Murudi, iii, 
404= § 1287), as is also the view that it is a form of 
plural in the suffix gdn/djan coupled with a noun of 
divinity given to the months and days of the Maz- 
daean months or of ceremonies forming the names of 
festivals (an error of the Persian editor of the Tajhim 
of al-Bfrunl, 254, n. 1). 

ii. Problems of calendars. The historical evolu- 
tion of the various types of calendars used by the Ira- 
nians, notably under the influence of the Babylonians, 
Egyptians, Greeks and the Arabs, is difficult to trace, 
but it determined the place and duration of their 
ceremonies and periodic festivals. The festivals 
celebrated at the solstice assumed a particular impor- 
tance among the Indo-Iranians. They may have 
begun the year with the autumn equinox although, as 
for example among the Jews, several "beginnings" of 
the year could have been recognised simultaneously 
(Boyce, HZ, i, 174). The Achaemenid administration 
used a "luni-solar" year beginning with the spring 
equinox, similar to, but different from, that of the 
Babylonian calendar (Hartner, 747). This practice 
was taken over by the Seleucids, then by the Arsacid 
Parthians, at least as far as royal chronology was con- 
cerned (Bickerman, 778 ff. ; see also below). Alongside 
the "Old Persian" calendar, we should take note of 
an "Old Avestan" calendar beginning the year in 
mid-summer. Both were abandoned for an "Egyp- 
tian" or "New Avestan" calendar (around 510 
B.C.?; on the first reform see Taklzada, Makdldt, vi, 
77 ff , Hartner, 749 ff.). Another difficulty arises from 
the adjustment of time between the Zoroastrian calen- 
dar of 360 days and the solar year of 365 days and a 
quarter This problem, never solved in a satisfactory 

"epagomenes" i.e. intercalary or "stolen" days (duz- 
dida), at the end of the year and one month every 120 

Taklzada, ibid., 85 ff.; Bickerman, 786 ff.). Not well 
received by the faithful, this Sasanid reform led to a 
duplication of Zoroastrian religious festivals: Naw-ruz, 
Mihragdn and the six Gdhdmbdrs (Christensen, Types, 
ii, 143 ff.; Boyce, 1970, 513 ff.). Today, the Iranians 
use, alongside the lunar hidjri calendar, a solar calen- 
dar beginning the year from the spring equinox (Naw- 
ruz), based on the Dialdli [q. v. ] calendar inaugurated 
under the Saldjuk sultan Djalal al-Dfn Malikshah 
(465-85/1073-92 (cf. Hartner, 772 f., 784 f.). 

Until the Sasanids, Mithrakdna/ Mihragdn remained, 
at least officially, a single day (Boyce, 1970, 518 f.; 
idem, HZ, ii, 34). Celebrated in autumn, the seventh 
month of the year, under the Achaemenids (6th/4th 
century B.C.), the festival was, inexplicably, observed 
in the spring, and Naw-ruz in autumn, under the 
Arsacid Parthians (3rd century B.C. -2nd century 
A.D.) who, following the Macedonian calendar estab- 
lished under the Seleucids, made the year begin with 
the autumn equinox (Boyce, 1975, 107; idem, 1976, 
106). The introduction of the reform under the 
Sasanids (who inherited the Parthian system) led, at 

1 . Jerusalem, Mihrab of Sulaymar 
under the Kubbat al-Sakhra 

2. Baghdad, The Khassaki mihrab. 
late Umayyad or early 
c Abbasid period. 

3. Mawsil, Comer m,hrab in the 
Mausoleum of Imam Yahya b 
Kasim, 7th/13th century. 

■■■ Aleppo, marble mihrdb in the 
Madrasa al-Firdaws, 633/1235. 

^airo stucco mihrdb in the Mausoleum of Sayyida Rukayya, 527/1133. 

o mihrdb in the Mosque of al-Djuyushl, 478/1085. 

'f Sulayman al-Rifa c i, 690/1291. 

). Cairo, marble mihrdb in the Mausoleum of Kalai 

10. Nayin, stucco mihrab m 
the Masdjid-i Djami c , 
second half of 4th/ 10th 

1. Sar-i Pul, Afghanistan. Stucco mihrab 
which was standing until recently in the 
Ziyarat of Imam-i Kh ur d, 6th/12th cen- 
tury. (Photographed and reproduced 
courtesy of Prof. A.D.H. Bivar) 

13. Kuhrud, Iran, mihmb in the Masdjid-i C A1I, lustre-painted and monochrome glazed tiles, 700-8/1300- 

1. Konya, faience miftrdb in the Sadrettin Konevi, 673/1274-5. (Photographed and reproduced courtesy of Mr. 
H. Dewenter) 

15. Dihli, mihtab in the tomb 
of Shams al-Din Iltut- 
mish, ca. 633/1235. 
(Photographed and 

reproduced courtesy of 
Mr. J. Burton-Page) 

16. earkh-Afghanistan, 

wooden mihrab in the 
Mosque of Shah Muhyl 
al-Din, 6th/12th cen- 
tury. (Photographed and 
reproduced courtesy of 
Prof. A.D.H. Bivar). 


least in popular practice, to the duplication of the 
festival: the 16th day (mihr ruz) of the seventh month 
(mihr mall), was celebrated as the "little" (khurdak or 
kucek) or "general" (^dmma) Mihragan and the 21st day 
(ram ruz), as the "great" (buzurg) or "special" (khdssa) 
Mihragan. According to al-BIrunl, the Sasanid king 
Hormizd I (272-3 A.D.), joined together the festival 
days of Naw-ruz and Mihragan which were observed 
respectively over six days. Then, the kings and people 
of Iran celebrated the two festivals over thirty days (al- 
BIrunl, Athar, 223 f., tr. 208 f.; idem, Tafliim, 254 f.). 
The whole month of Farwardln (that of Naw-ruz) had 
been consecrated to a festival divided into six sets of 
five days, respectively for the princes, nobles, servants 
of princes, the people, the shepherds and stock- 
breeders (after Djamshld, according to al-BIrum, 
Athar, 218, tr. 203; under Djamshld, according to Ps.- 
Djahiz, Mahdsin, 360, tr. 97, with some variants as to 
the social groups.) But the circumstances concerning 
the duration of the festival remain vague (al-BIrunl, 
ibid. , also mentions for the Sasanid Naw-ruz a dura- 
tion of five days for the reception by the king of the 
people of all ranks and a sixth day of private royal 
celebration). One thing remains certain; the 
Zoroastrians festivals were still being adjusted for time 
in relation to the solar year, to keep them at a normal 
date, a second reform of the calendar was undertaken 
under the Sasanids between 507 and 511. At first, 
Mihragan apparently continued to be celebrated for six 
days by the Zoroastrians until after the 10th century 
A.D.; the Zoroastrian festivals were then reduced to 
five days, Mihragan also losing the ram ruz which rep- 
resented for the Zoroastrian faithful the authentic 
ancient day of the festival (Boyce, 1975, 106 f.; idem, 
1983, 807 f.). The Parsees of India and the 
Zoroastrians of Iran use different calendars for their 
periodic festivals (see below). After Islamisation, some 
caliphs and Muslim rulers celebrated Nay-ruzl Naw-riz 
and Mihradjdn at the spring and autumn equinoxes 
(see below). 

iii. Evolution and diffusion of the ritual. This 
festival probably represents a pre-Zoroastrian Iranian 
new year celebrated in autumn. It seems also that 
before the adoption of Zoroastrianism, the Iranians 
established, by contact with the Babylonians, their 
new year ("Navasarda, then No-rozl Naw-ruz) in the 
spring, while preserving their autumn festival which 
they then called Mithrakana (Boyce, HZ, ii, 34), 
celebrated on the 16th day of the 7th month according 
to the calendar introduced by the Zoroastrian magi 
(between 457 and 454 B.C. and not, as Takizada 
states, in 441 B.C.; see Hartner, 776 f.). From then 
on, the characteristics of the festival were influenced 
by the multiple aspects of Mithra, which involve a 
simple concept (friend, alliance, friendship, love, con- 
tract, etc.) of the Vedic Mitra, a divinity with the 
juridico-priestly, beneficent, conciliatory, luminous, 
etc. aspect, often associated with Varuna, of the 
Avestan yazata (not known by Zoroaster but 
integrated in yasht 10: see Zaehner, 98 f.; see also 
Boyce, 1969, 14 ff.), similar to Verethragna, yazata of 
victory, and the Vedic Indra, the Mithra-Ahura 
syzygy, later Ahura-Mithra, corresponding to the 
Vedic-Mithra-Varuna (on Mithra and his place in 
Zoroastrianism, see Boyce, 1969; idem, HZ, i, 24 ff. 
and index; concise account in Turcan, 5 ff. and 

Mithrakana was celebrated in the 7 th month of the 
ancient Achaemenid year called Bdgayddish (Hartner, 
746), supposedly as this name was taken to mean (the 
month of) the cult of Baga, assimilated with Mithra 
(Takizada, op. cit., 98 ff.). This interpretation has 

now been rejected for philological reasons and 
because the festival was established, in Mesopotamia, 
under foreign influences (see below), well after the 
ancient Iranian names had been given for the first 
time to the months (Boyce, 1981, 67 f.; idem, HZ, ii, 
16 ff., 24 ff.; on the name Baga, see also Gignoux, 
1979, 88-90). Another problem arises from the fact 
that on 10 Bdgayddish, the festival Magophonia was 
celebrated, a commemoration of the murder of the 
magi (or "of the magus", Gaumata) under Darius I 
(on Magophonia, some of whose rites may have influ- 
enced Mithrakana, see Henning; Takizada, op. cit. , 99 
ff.; Dandamaev, 138 f., 575 f.; Widengren, Religions, 
163 ff.; Boyce, HZ, ii, 86-89; Hartner, 749). 

Mithrakana may have been established in Mesopot- 
mia under the influence of a Babylonian autumn 
festival placed under the protection of Shamash, the 
equivalent of Mithra, this influence having developed 
the solar aspect of this myth. It was apparently the 
first time that the Iranians dedicated a festival to a 
single god (Boyce, HZ, ii, 35). Its rites have been 
made known to us especially by the Greek authors 
and, in their later elaborated form, by the authors 
writing in Arabic. The dominant aspect is that of a 
royal festival of a new year or renewal, celebrated by 
festivities, present-giving, animal sacrifices. The 
numerous features common to this festival and Naw- 
ruz show that the two festivals may have been treated 
together (notably by Ps.-Djahiz). According to the 
epic-religious tradition, the festival was founded by 
the hero-king Thraetaona/Freton/Farldun who killed 
with his bull-headed club the dragon Azhdahak/ 
Dahaka/Dahhak; (Widengren, Religions, 60 f., 68 f., 
258 f.; see also G. Dumezil, he probleme des cenlaures, 
Paris 1929, 72f.; according to the tradition of 
Tabaristan/Mazandaran, Faridun was brought up in 
the north of Laridjan [q.v.] where he used to hunt 
mounted on a cow). The myth has been historicised in 
the Iranian epic in which the legitimate king Faridun 
institutes the festival of Mihragan to celebrate his 
triumph over the usurping tyrant Dahhak whom he 
chains to Mt. Dunbawand/Damavand. He in- 
augurates the month of Mihr by putting the crown on 
his head; the nobles perform libations. He introduces 
the practice of celebrating Mihragan with rest, 
festivities and banquets. He is remembered in the 
month of Mihr in which one should not wear a worried 
and sad expression (Firdawsi, ed. Mohl, i, 114; ed. 
Moscow, i, 9-10; AsadI, 329, 474 f., Fr. tr., ii, 164, 
271 f.). The hero-smith Kava [see kAwah], after 
having triumphed over Bevarasp/Dahhak, asks the 
people to pay homage to Faridun (al-BIrunl, Athar, 
222, tr. 207 f.). 

The dominant feature of the festival was its royal 
and solar aspect. Mithra being the mediator between 
Ohrmazd and Ahriman. According to various tradi- 
tions, the sun appeared for the first time on the day 
of Mihragan; God made the contract between light and 
darkness on the day of Naw-rdz and Mihragan (al- 
Birunl, op. cit. , 222, tr. 208; Widengren, Hochgott, 94, 
99 f., 158). According to other traditions, on the day 
of Mihragan, God created the earth and bodies; he 
illuminated the moon which was until then a sphere 
without light. Mihragan is regarded as a sign of resur- 
rection and the end of the world, for everything which 
grows then reaches its perfection (al-BIrum, ibid.). 
The rituals are still little known. According to the 
Greek sources, the Achaemenids apparently 
celebrated Mithrakana more than Navasardal Naw-ruz at 
Persepolis, the autumn season being pleasanter there 
and more convenient for bringing tribute (Nylander, 
143, citing Athenaeus; Boyce^ HZ, ii, 110). It seems 


that they also used to sacrifice horses to Mithra there; 
the satrap of Armenia sent them annually 20,000 colts 
for the Milhrakdna (Boyce, HZ, i, 173; ii, 1 10, accord- 
ing to Strabo). Mithrakana was celebrated joyfully, 
notably with dances (according to Duris); it was the 
only annual occasion on which the king of Persia 

Artaxerxes II); cf Boyce, HZ, ii, 35. It is thought that 
somalhaoma was used for these libations (Boyce, HZ, i, 
173; Turcan, 9; and see below). 

We have little information as to the diffusion, in 
eastern Iran, of Mithrakana, whose Sogdian counter- 
part may have been Bagakdna, a contracted form of 
Bagamithrakdna, celebrated on the 16th day of the 7th 
month (Boyce, 1981, 68 f.). The name mihrakdnl 
mihragdn is to be found in the Jerusalem Talmud 
(moharnaki) and in that of Babylon (muharnekai); see 
Takfzada, op. cit., 192. The Seleucid and Arsacid 
periods are much less documented. According to the 
epic tradition, the festivals of Mihragan and Sada were 
revived by the last Arsacid, Ardavan, and by the first 
Sasanid, Ardashir-i Papakan (FirdawsT, ed. Mohl, v, 
302, 328; ed. Moscow, vii, 442, 769). Although 
apparently more orthodox Zoroastrians than their 
Sasanid successors, the Arsacids transposed Naw-ruz 
and Mihragdn (see above, and .Boyce, 1983, 805). 
Under their influence, some Iranian cults and sanc- 
tuaries, some of which were dedicated to Mithra, were 
introduced into Armenia. With Christianisation, the 
great Mihragan (Arm. Mehekan, 21 Mehek = Mihr) was 
reconsecrated to St. George the Soldier (Taklzada, op. 
at., 194 ff; Boyce, Zoroastrians, 89; eadem,' 1981, 67; 
eadem, 1983, 804 f.; Turcan, 17). As far as we can 
see, it was in Asia Minor, rather than in 
Mesopotamia, that Greco-Roman contacts were 
established out of which arose the mysteries of Mithra 
(Turcan, 18). It is also possible to interpret the iden- 
tification of Mithra with Helios- Apollo as more of a 
symbiosis than a syncretism (at least at Sardis; Boyce, 
HZ, ii, 268 f). But the Mithra of the mysteries is very 
different from the Median-Persian Mithra and the 
diffusion in the Greco-Roman world of the rituals of 
Mithrakana (across Armenia?) remains conjectural, 
notably inasmuch as we are concerned with their 
direct influence on the Mithraic celebration, then the 
Christian one of Natalis invicti on 25 December 
(Cumont, 167) or of Mithrakana celebrated in Phrygia, 
at the time of the wine-harvest, with libations of wine 
and animal sacrifices (Campbell, 239 f). The epic 
legends and heroic character attached to the ritual of 
Mihragan, celebrated especially by men, have supplied 
more definite links with Roman Mithraism (Boyce, 
1966, 107, n. 3; idem, 1969, 26, n. 83; idem, 1983, 

With the Sasanid reform, the religious calendar 
consisted of seven obligatory festivals: the Gahdmbdrs 
(instituted, according to tradition, by Zoroaster; see 
al-BIrunl, Athdr, 219, tr. 205) and Naw-ruz (Boyce, 
1983, 794 f). Despite its optional character, Mihragan 
preserved all its prestige. Some preferred it, just as 
they preferred the autumn to the spring (al-Biruni, op. 
at. , 223, tr. 208 f). Mihragdn was also regarded as the 
beginning of winter (al-Mas c udi, Tanbih, 216, Fr. tr. 
289; idem, MurudJ, iii, 404 f = § 1287). The mytho- 
logical elements, beliefs and rituals connected with 
Naw-ruz and Mihragdn mentioned in the Islamic 
sources seem nevertheless to date back to earlier 
periods or even to refer to Iranian customs held in 
honour under some caliphs (see below). While the 
connections between Zoroastrian festivals and epic 
tradition are probably ancient (according to Ps.- 
Djahiz, "Naw-ruz belongs to Djam and Mihragdn to 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, VII 

Afrldun", Mahdsin, 360, tr. 97), their duplication 
leads to a re-elaboration of the epic traditions; the 
little Mihragdn commemorates the joy of all human 
beings when they heard tell of Farldun's expedition, 
whereas on the great Mihragdn he triumphed over 
Dahhak and bound him (al-Birum, Athdr, 222 f, tr. 
207 ff; al-KazwIm, 123; Boyce, 1983, 807). Accord- 
ing to various traditions, on the day of Mihragdn the 
kings of Persia used to wear (in the manner of 
Faridun?) a crown on which was engraved the image 
of the sun and the wheel on which he turns. A valiant 
warrior would stand at the gate of the palace to invoke 
the aid of the angels (who came to the help of 
Faridun?): al-Birum, ibid. According to Ps.-Djahiz, 
the bearer of good omen, at Naw-ruz and Mihragdn, 
was said to come through the agency of two spirits 
(according to Inostrantzeff, the amesha spentas or 
"archangels" Haurvatat and Ameretat connected 
respectively with water and plants): Mahdsin, 361, tr. 
97, 3. Then, expressing his good wishes, he would 
place before the king, on a silver table, cakes prepared 
with different grains; seven grains of each kind; seven 
branches of an auspicious tree (and auspicious inscrip- 
tions), seven white earthenware plates, seven silver- 
dirhams minted that year, a new dinar and a bouquet 
of wild rue. On this day, the king would abstain from 
discussing any matter. The first thing that was 
presented to him was a gold or silver vase containing 
white sugar, Indian nuts and silver or gold cups. He 
would then drink fresh milk in which dates had been 
soaked. He would give the dates to his favourites and 
sample whatever sweets he liked (ibid, 361 f; tr. 
98 f). 

Although Naw-ruz may have been more important 
than Mihragdn in certain respects (welcoming the New 
Year, collecting the land-tax, nominating governors, 
transferring posts, minting coins, etc.), it was a right 
of the ruler to receive presents and his courtiers, 
relatives and dependents on the two festivals. Each 
one gave what he liked best or something in which he 
excelled. The donors were able to record the value of 
the gift in the diwdn. The king had to remunerate 
these presents with gifts or rewards. On the day of 
Mihragdn, he would wear new clothes of poplin (khazz), 
silk or closely-woven fabric. He would distribute to his 
courtiers and relatives, at Naw-ruz, their winter 
clothes and, at Mihragdn, their summer clothes (Ps.- 
Djahiz, Tddi, 146 ff, Fr. tr. 165 ff; these gifts of 
clothing were called dyen, Christensen, Sassanides, 125, 
407 ff.; on the presents that the king of Persia received 
from all quarters, see also Ps.-Djahiz, Mahdsin, 367-8, 
tr. 100-1). 

At Naw-ruz and Mihragdn, the king held a public 
audience to which all, great and small, had access 
(Ps.-Djahiz, Tddi, 159-60, Fr. tr. 178-9; Nizam al- 
Mulk, 57, tr. 42 f; al-Ghazali, Nasiha, 167 ff, tr. 102 
ff ). These audiences were abolished by Yazdgard I 
(399-421) or Bahram Gur (421-39) and his son Yazd- 
gard II (439-57); see Ps.-Djahiz, Tddi, 163-4, Fr. tr. 
181-2; al-Ghazali, ibid, and tr. 103, n. 3; Christensen, 
op. cit., 283, 303. This custom may have been bor- 
rowed by Naw-ruz from Mihragdn, the festival of 
Mithra Lover of Justice (Ddvar Mihr): Boyce, 1975, 
110, n. 18. The ruler could grant forgiveness for an 
offence committed at Naw-ruz or Mihragdn (Ps.- 
Djahiz, Tddj_, 101-2, Fr. tr. 126-7, anecdote concern- 
ing Khusraw I Anushirwan and Mu c awiya). More- 
over, it was at Mihragdn that Kavad I (488-531) 
organised, in 528-9, a massacre of the Mazdakites 
(just as Darius I had massacred the magus Gaumata 
and his followers at the Mithrakdna): Ibn al-Balkhi, 90; 
cf Widengren, Religions, 343. 


As at Naw-ruz, a fair was held at Mihragan. The Per- 
sians wished to live for a thousand years (in the man- 
ner of Dahhak). Eating pomegranate and smelling the 
perfume of rose-water secured them against illness (al- 
Blruni, op. cit.). During the festivities of Mihragan, 
particular musical tunes were played (see below, 

With the installation of the c Abbasid caliphate in 
the ancient Sasanid territory, socio-cultural life was 
strongly influenced by Iranian traditions in Baghdad 
and in the provinces. While the Zoroastrians con- 
tinued to celebrate their ceremonies according to their 
own practices (see below), Naw-ruz and Mihragan sur- 
vived, deprived of their original religious functions, in 
an Islamic context. Presents had been sent to the 
caliphs on these occasions before the c Abbasid period. 
Mu'awiya had imposed heavy contributions at Naw- 
ruz and al-Hadjdjadj had attempted to re-establish the 
Sasanid custom of obligatory presents at the two 
festivals; this was abolished by 'Umar b. c Abd al- 
c Aziz (see Safa, 51 f.). With other borrowings from 
the Sasanid fiscal system, the c Abbasids also adopted 
the contributions in the form of presents. They 
celebrated Naw-ruz at their court with wine and music 
(al-Mas c udI, MurOdj, vii, 277 f . = § 2962). According 
to some poetic fragments attributed to the caliphs (al- 
Ma'mun, al-Mutawakkil) and various poets writing 
in Arabic, these same festivities were to develop into 
yawm al-mihradjan (see Safa, 52 f., and Sadat Nasirl, 4, 

426 ff., following Ps.-Djahiz, Mahasin, and Ibn al- 
Mukaffa c , Bulugh al-arab; al-Mas c udI, Murudj, viii, 
340 f. = § 3502). 

From the time of the appearance of the first 
dynasties more or less independent of the c Abbasid 
caliphate, the celebration of Mihragan assumed, until 
the Mongol invasion, great importance at the courts 
of most princes, great and small, in the Turko-Iranian 
environment. The Tahirid c Abd Allah b. Tahir 
arranged for the distribution of clothing at Naw-ruz 
and Mihragan (Ps.-Djahiz, Tad}., 149, Fr. tr. 169). 
c Ubayd Allah b. c Abd Allah b. Tahir wrote some 
verses in Arabic on Mihradjan (Sadat NasirT, 
i). The sultans of Khurasan arranged for the 

i of a 

i and v 


> their 

soldiers at Mihradjan (al-Biruni, Athar, 223, tr. 209). 
Some contributions at Naw-ruz and Mihradjan were 
imposed in Kum on the bazar folk; they were sup- 
pressed (in Kum, then in Aba) from the reign of the 
Buyid Rukn al-Dawla (335-66/947-77); Kumi, 164 

By comparison with those bayts in Arabic of which 
we are aware, the poetic production in Persian on 
Mihragan is considerable. Naw-ruz and Mihragan, often 
synonyms of spring and autumn, form a part of the 
nature themes celebrated by Persian poets. Among 
the best known who wrote poetry on Mihragan we may 
cite (excluding the epic poets such as FirdawsT and 

died around or in 

patronised by 





LN; SN, 4, 427; DS, 46. 



ibid. . 

Mundjik Tirmidhl 


Al-i Muhtadj, 

SN, 4, 428. 

or 380/990 




LN; SN, 4, 429-32; 


5, 458; DS, 50-54. 


Mahmiid and Mas'ud 


Mahmud and Mas c ud 

LN; SN, 5, 458-9; DS, 46-7 



Princes of Damghan 

LN; SN, 5, 459-62; 

and Rayy; Mas'ud 

DS, 47-50; Hanaway. 


Saldjuks of 

LN; SN, 9, 206-7; 10, 266-69. 


Harat and Kirman 



Princes of Tabriz, 

LN; SN, 6, 34-38; DS, 46. 


Gandja and Nakhdjawan 



Contemporary of 

SN, 6, 34 



the Saldjuks Toghril 
and Alp Arslan 

Nasir-i Khusraw 




Mas c ud-i Sa c d-i 


Ghaznawids of 

SN, 6, 38-9; 91-4. 


Mu c izzT 


Saldjukids Malikshah 


and Sandjar 

Sabir Tirmidhl 


Sandjar and 

SN, 10, 269. 


Kh^arazmshah Atsiz 



Saldjuks of Kirman 

SN, 11, 325-6; DS, 46. 


562/1166 or 

Princes of Bukhara 



and Samarkand 

Rashid al-din 

573/1178 or 





Sandjar, then 

SB, 11, 325-6. 


various princes 



Manucihr, then 
various princes 


* Abbreviations: DS 

= Dablr Siyaki 

LN = Lughat-nama SN = Sadat Nasiri 


Apart from the usual themes (nature, love and 
wine), these poetic evocations contain numerous men- 
tions of and allusions to the celebration of Mihragan, 
the happy autumn festival of good omen, which takes 
the place of spring, with wine and the flute replacing 
the rose and nightingale. It was also the festival of 
Faridun and the great festival of the kings 
(Fouchecour, 24 f., citing Mu'izzl, Manucihrl, 
c UnsurI and Farrukhl). Although this kind of infor- 
mation may be quite rare in the narrative sources, the 
Tarikh-i Bayhaki supplies us with complementary 
information on the festival (djashn) and the custom 
(rasm) of Mihraaj.Sn at the court of the Ghaznawid 
Mas c ud [q.v.], observed around the autumn equinox. 
The celebration of Ramadan may have provided an 
obstacle for that of Mihragan (see Farrukhl, for the 
years 419-21/1028-30: cited by Dablr-Siyakl, 53 ff.; 
Fouchecour, 25 f.). In 422, Mas'ud received the 
presents of the princes and governors, many of them 
horses, on the day of Mihragin (28 Ramadan/ 18 
September 1031). He celebrated the festival with great 
pomp two days later, on the breaking of the fast (fitr). 
He organised a reception "such as no-one had ever 
seen". The sultan and his entourage were inebriated. 
Musicians and poets enlivened the festivities at the 
court and outside. Considerable rewards were 
distributed: 1,000 dindrs for 'Unsurf; 20,000 dirhams 
for the foreign poets at the court, 50,000 for Zaynabi 
'Alawl; 30,000 for the musicians and jesters (Tarikh-i 
Bayhaki, 359 f.; Bosworth, 132). This celebration is 
mentioned more briefly for the years 426/1035, 429 (9 
Dhu 'l-Hidjdja/12 September 1038!) and 430/1039 (at 
that time he sent to India Mas c ud-i Razi who ven- 
tured to advise him in a kasida): Tarikh-i Bayhaki, 642 
f., 734 f. 

It seems that the celebration of Mihragan, like that 
of SadaklSada [q.v.], had been abandoned, in its 
Islamic context, after the rupturing of traditions pro- 
voked in Iran by the Mongol invasion (Safa, 58, 1 18). 
This theme, however, continued to inspire poets (e.g. 
Damlrl, d. 973/1565, a contemporary of Shah 
Tahmasp I: LN). It has been suggested that some 
Shi^i festivals following their solar computation may 
be survivals of Mihragan (e.g. in the ceremonies of kali- 
shuyanl shurdn at Mashhad-i Ardaha^ near Kashan, 
celebrated in the month of Mihr; see Al-i Ahmad, 200 
ff.; A. Boloukbachi, in Objels et Mondes , xi, Paris 1971, 
133-40). There is also continuity in the celebration of 
Mihragan by the Zoroastrians, who use different calen- 
dars in Iran and India (Boyce, 1968, 213, n. 86; 
eadem, Stronghold, 164 ff. and index; eadem, 
Zoroastrians, 221 and index). Although the Parsees of 
India seem to have stopped observing this non- 
obligatory festival during the 19th century (Boyce, 
1969, 32), they retained the ritual (Dhabhar, Rivayats, 
343; Mehr and Jashne Meherangan, Bombay 1889; idem, 
LN, Ceremonies, 429 ff.). One of the causes of their 
neglect of Mihragan is probably, under pressure from 
their Hindu surroundings, the opposition to animal 
sacrifice which they were still practising in the 18th 
century (witnessed by Anquetil-Duperron; cf. Boyce, 
1966, 197; eadem, 1975, 106). Their celebration is 
now limited to a cult restricted to 16 Mihr (Boyce, 
1969, 32). By contrast, the Zoroastrians of Iran have 
continued to observe this festival. At the beginning of 
the 20th century, those of Yazd used to celebrate it 
(from 16 to 20 Mihr), in February-March according 
to the time adjustment of the kadimi calendar of 365 
days, with notably, in each house, the sacrifice of an 
animal: sheep, goat, poultry for the very poor, and 
the eating of unleavened bread. Despite the objections 
of their coreligionists in Tehran and Bombay, the 

ioroastrians of the villages of Yazd were still 
elebrating it for five days in 1960, under the name 
)jashn-i Mihrized. It was a joyful and convivial festival, 
3 which the "migrants" from Tehran were invited, 
le principal elements of the ritual still being the cult 
of Mihr, to whom the animal sacrifice was dedicated 
(essentially a sheep or goat, whose flesh was roasted, 
shared out and eaten) and the offerings of products of 
the season preserved and brought for the festival 
(Boyce, 1975, 108 ff.; eadem, Stronghold, 54 ff., 83ff., 
200 ff.). These rituals were probably survivals of 
Mithrakdna, the sacrifice of livestock symbolising the 
immolation of the primordial bull (Boyce, 1975, 108, 
117 f.). A large sanctuary of Kirman is dedicated to 
"Shah Mihr Ized" (Boyce, Stronghold, 83). 
iv. Other usages of the noun. 

(1) As a toponym, Mihragan designates, in a 
compound or adjoining forms, various localities and 

Mihradjan, ancient name of Isfarayin [q.v.] in 
Khurasan. According to Yakut (7th/13th century), it 
was still a village near the ruined town; 51 villages 
were under its control. It was also a small town 
between Isfahan and Tabas (Yakut, v, 233; Barbier 
de Meynard, 552; Le Strange, 393). 

Mihradjanavadh ( = Mihradjanabad), a town in 
Fars (Le Strange, 283; Schwarz, i, 30, iii, 180). 

Mihradjan-kadhak/Mihradjan-kadak (Mihradjan- 
kudhak), a densely populated and very fertile district 
in the 4th/10th century in Djibal, near Saymara 
(Yakut and Barbier de Meynard; al-Mas c udI, Tanbih, 
Fr. tr. 74, 453; Le Strange, 202; Schwarz, iv, 470 and 

Mihrikan, one of the villages in the region of Rayy 
(Yakut, 233; Barbier de Meynard, 552; Schwarz, vi, 

Mihrkan, a village in Fars (Schwarz, i 37). 

Mihrldjan, a small town in the country of Marw; a 
major village in Fars, near Kazarun [q.v.] (Yakut, 
234; Barbier de Meynard, 553). 

Without being able to establish their antiquity, 
some of these toponyms are still attested. There are 
also, according to Farhang-i djughrdfyPi-yi Iran (ed. 
Razmara, Tehran 1949-53), the following villages: 

Mihrakan, a region in Linga, Laristan (vii, 229). 

Mihrandjan, two villages, region of Kazarun, Fars 
ibid. . 

Mihrgan, two villages, region of Bandar c Abbas 
(viii, 400). 

Mihrgan, region of Nayin; Mihrgan, Mihrandjan-i 
aramitra, in ruins, and Mihradjan! turkha, region of 
Isfahan (x, 88). 

(2) As a personal name. Mihradjan was given 
rarely as a patronym (see e.g. Mihradjan b. Ruzbih; 
Schwarz, iii, 136, n. 3). However, there exist many 
proper Persian names derived from Mihr. According 
to a Zoroastrian custom, a name with Mihr was given 
to a child born on this day (Farevashi, 306). As well 
as names such as Mihran, Mihrban, Mihrdad, etc., 
many female names are also formed, such as 
Mihrbanu, Mihrdukht. Mihrmah/Mihr-i mah [q.v.], 
Mihrvash, etc. Several people were also known by 
their nisbas derived from toponyms (Mihradjan!, 
Mihrdjam, Mihrldjam, MihrikanI, etc.). 

(3) Mihragan and music. As with Naw-mz, 
Mihragan also gave its name to some musical themes 
whose origin goes back to the Sasanid period (see 
Christensen, 1918, 376). Several names were given to 
these tunes (avaz, dastgah, lahn, naghma, nava, parda), 
whose tenor is not known in the general body of 
makdms [q.v.]. We can distinguish essentially mihragan- 
-i buzurg, the eleventh of the twelve makdms according 


to al-Farabl; mihragan-i khurdak or kucik, a parda or a 
makdm (LN; Dabir-Siyakl, citing Manu&hrf). 

(4) Apart from its use for nisbas and music, the 
adjective of relationship mihragdni/mihradjani is also 
used in Persian to designate anything which 
relates to the festival, the season and its products, 
with the meaning of autumnal or wintry, especially in 
poetry (LN, s.v.). 

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G. Widengren, Hochgottglaube im alien Iran, Uppsala 
1938; idem, Les religions del 'Iran, Paris 1968; Yakut, 
Mu^djam al-bulddn, Beirut 1376/1956. 

0. Calmard) 
MIHRAN, the name generally given by the 
classical Islamic geographers to the Indus river (Skr. 
Sindhu, Grk S£v6o?, "IvSo?, Lat. Sindus, Indus), but 
Nahr al-Sind, Sind-Rudh, Nahr Multan, etc. were 
also used by them. 

There was, in fact, considerable confusion over the 
precise nomenclature of the Indus and its consti- 
tuents, with, in particular, uncertainty over what was 
to be regarded as the main river channel. Thus al- 
Istakhri, followed by Ibn Hawkal, records the Nahr 
Multan or Mihran as rising in the mountains of Cen- 
tral Asia. They compare it to the Nile, in its breadth, 
its becoming swollen seasonally with waters which 
flood and fertilise the agricultural areas along its 
banks and its having crocodiles; together with this 
river are the Sind-Rudh. situated three days' journey 
from Multan [q.v.], and the Djandrawar, which joins 
the Indus lower than the Sind-Rudh (Ibn Hawkal, ed. 
Kramers, 322, 328, tr. Kramers-Wiet, 315, 320-1; cf. 
al-Mas c udI, Murudj, i, 372-3, 377-8 = §§ 412-13, 419; 
al-Birum, India, tr. Sachau, i, 259-60). Al- 
Mukaddasi, 482-3, resumes this information: that the 
Mihran is the main river, and the Nahr Sindarud a 
tributary flowing at a distance three stages from 
Multan. As Marquart pointed out, Erdnsahr, 258-61, 
the Sind-Rudh is in fact the genuine Indus, but the 
geographers took the system of the Chenab-Ravi- 


Jhelum, on which Multan was situated and which 
formed part of the Panianada or Pandjnad "Five 
rivers" [see pandjab], as the main stream, whose 
waters unite near modern Ucch and then join the 
Indus proper near Mithankot, about 100 miles/160 
km. below Multan. The Djandrawar must have been 
one of the main arms of the lower Indus within the 
province of Sind [q. v. ] just below the town of Ror or 
AriJr/al-Rur [q. v.), modern Rohri. Likewise, the 
Hudud al- c alam, § 6. 13-15, cf. Minorsky's comm., 
209-10, 371-2, regards the Indus river system as 
essentially comprising three streams: the Sindh-Rudh 
( = the modern upper Indus, north of Atak [q.v.] or 
Attock), the river of Lamghan ( = the Kabul river, 
which the author considers to be the principal channel 
of the Indus) and the Hivan (apparently the Sutlej, 
the longest affluent of the Indus). After the junction of 
these three, the author says, the river is called the 
Mihran, and empties into the "Great Sea" at Kull 
( = the Kori creek, the ancient estuary of the Indus, 
now in the Rann of Cutch); he also mentions (§ 6.16) 
a "Lesser Mihran" to the east, perhaps the Narbada 
of central India, which flows into the Gulf of Cambay. 
Al-Idrlsi uses only the term Mihran, and describes the 
main course of its lower reaches in Sind as flowing in 
his time near al-Mansura; cf. S. Maqbul Ahmad, 
India and the neighbouring territories in ... al-Sharif al- 
Idrisi, Leiden 1960, text 41, etc., comm. 111. 

Of the historians, al-Baladhurl uses the term 
Mihran in his account of Muhammad b. al-Kasim's 
conquest of Sind (Futdh, 438). The Ghaznawid 
chroniclers al- c Utbi and Gardlzi, if they give the 
Indus a specific name at all, use that of Sayhun, nor- 
mally used by the geographers for the Sfr Darya or 
Jaxartes, in parallel to the name Djayhun for the Amu 
Darya or Oxus; its application to the Indus is 
presumably by analogy with the Central Asian river, 
both being long and wide and both marking the fron- 
tier zone between Islam and the lands of paganism (cf. 
c UtbI-ManIni, Yamini, ii, 67, 72, etc.; Gardlzi, Zayn 
al-akhbdr, ed. Nazim, 87, 88, 89). The later traveller 
Ibn Battuta, iii, 91, 93, speaks of the Indus as the 
Nahr/MaVWadi al-Sind, "called Pandj Ab", lump- 
ing the Indus and its major tributaries together under 
the Persian name; cf. also i, 79. 

The Indus is approximately 1,800 miles/2,900 km. 
long. It rises in western Tibet in lat. 31°25' N. and 
long. 81°30' E., flows through Kashmir State of the 
Indian Union and then enters Pakistani (Azad) Kash- 
mir and completes the rest of its course within 
Pakistan. The main rivers of the Indus system are fed 
by the snows of the Inner Asian mountain massif, and 
the Indus water level rises in the spring to a peak 
around early August, bringing down silt, so that Sind 
is largely an alluvial plain built up by the very wide, 
slow-flowing river. The river has always been used for 
irrigation. An extensive canal system was constructed 
in British Indian times, and since 1947, various bar- 
rages have been made on the main river and its 
affluents both for irrigation and for hydro-electric 
power, with the Indus Waters Agreement of 1960 
allotting the flow of the western rivers (Indus, Jhelum 
and Chenab) to Pakistan and that of the eastern ones 
(Ravi, Sutlej and Beas) to India. Until the advent of 
railways and the extension of irrigation projects, i.e. 
till ca. 1880, the Indus and the other Pandjab rivers 
had been used for a certain amount of navigation; in 
mediaeval times, the Ghaznawid sultan Mahmud b. 
Sebiiktigin [ q. v. ] had sent a large fleet downriver from 
Multan to attack the Djats [q.v.], and sharp clashes 
had taken place between the opposing sides (see M. 
Nazim, The life and times of Sultan Mahmud of Ghazna, 
Cambridge 1931, 121-2). 

The channels of the lower Indus, in the plains of 
Sind below Rohri, have changed considerably in the 
" recorded history. Formerly, it followed a 
:erly course than at present, the Eastern 
:rbed, emptying into the Kori creek; but 
already in the 2nd/8th century, the time of the Islamic 
of Sind, the Arabs found it flowing further 
westwards, past Brahmanabad or al-Mansura [q.v.], 
though still to the east of its present course. The ques- 
tions involved are studied, with relevant maps, by 
H.G. Raverty, The Mihran of Sind and its tributaries, in 
JASB, lxi (1892), 155-297; H. Cousens, The antiquities 
of Sind = Memoirs of the Archaeological Survey of India, xlvi, 
Calcutta 1929; and H.T. Lambrick, Sind, a general 
introduction, Hyderabad, Sind 1964. Finally, one 
should mention that the lower course and the delta 
region of Sind were the home of the Jhats, Arabic Zutt 
[q.v.], who played a certain role in the early history of 
the caliphate as well as a local, Indian one (see above). 
Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the article): Le Strange, Lands of the eastern caliphate, 
331; Imperial gazetteer of India 2 , xiii, 359-65; Kazi S. 
Ahmad, A geography of Pakistan 2 , Karachi 1969; 
O.H.K. Spate, India and Pakistan, a general and 
regional geography 3 , London 1972, chs. 14, 16, 17. 

MIHRATH (a.) and its plur. maharith are used 
more frequently than the doublet mihrath, plur. 
maharith, to designate today a plough, but these 
terms are applied more specifically, in mediaeval 
literature, to the tiller, which is not equipped with 
wheels or a mould-board or a coulter, but consists 
essentially of a ploughshare, a crossbeam, a handle 
and a pole (or beam). Although it goes back to the 
earliest antiquity, this agricultural implement is still 
, without modification of note, throughout the 



i, appears in 

While mihrath, unknown in the Kur'j 
classical dictionaries only in the sense o 
figuratively, of "kindler of war", it was not unknown 
to agronomists, notably Andalusians, who, never- 
theless, tended to consider it as colloquial (see Dozy, 
Suppl. , s.v.); for his part, Ibn Khaldun is prepared to 
use it, especially with reference to a famous hadith 
which bears witness after all to the existence of the 
tiller in ancient Arabia. Having seen in the house of 
one of his Companions a ploughshare (sikka) and 
other parts of a ploughing implement, the Prophet is 
said to have exclaimed: "These things do not enter a 
house (dar) without also bringing in debasement" (see 
al-Bukharl, Sahih, k. al-wakala, ma Ajpafi 'l-harth wa 7- 
muzara'-a, ed. HalabI, Cairo n.d., iii, 135; cf. Houdas 
et Marcais, Les traditions musulmanes, ii, 91). Ibn 
Khaldun (Mukaddima, i, 258, Fr. tr. de Slane, i, 297, 
Eng. tr. Rosenthal, i, 289-90), specifies that, in the 
hadith in question, it is a tiller's ploughshare (sikkat 
mihrath), and, without dwelling on the interpretations 
that could be put on it so as to mitigate the effect, he 
goes on to show that taxes (payable on products of the 
land) degrade people. 

The use of the tiller at an early date is further 
attested, but less clearly, by the use that the classical 
lexicographers make of terms that designate it, 
although possessing a much less exact and certain 
meaning than mihrath; this is the case with lu^amal 
lu 'ma/ la ''ma (see below) and especially of a word that 
seems to have been applied at the same time to the 
yoke, to the pair of oxen and to the implement that 
they pull to till the land and that the Lisan (s.v. s-k-k) 
uses, exactly like mihrath in Ibn Khaldun, to define 
sikka in the preceeding hadith: fadan"" (see LA, s.v. 
f-d-n); in fact, it is this term that most regularly 
designates the tiller. An evolved form, faddin-" 

(comp. in dialect dukhdn> dukhkhdn "smoke, etc."), 
by quite an expected extension of meaning, came to 
designate also the area that a pair of oxen could till in 
a given time [see misaha]. 

By force of circumstances, the mediaeval 
philologists inevitably concerned themselves with the 
tiller and noted its terminology; but, cut off from rural 
realities, doubtless embarrassed by the diversity of the 
terms attested in different regions and perhaps also 
hindered by the hadith cited above, they do not seem 
to have possessed a very clear idea of the structure and 
function of an implement that they could not, how- 
ever, neglect. It is thus that we find a rather obscure 
and fairly contradictory account of a lexicographical 
character, for the elements were drawn from various 
sources and probably concern slightly different types, 
in the Mukhassas of Ibn Slduh (x, 152-4) and a brief 
description in the Lisdn (s.v. d-dj-r). There follows an 
attempt at translating the passage in question of the 
LA; "Dadjr, dudjr and dudjur, the name of the piece of 
wood (khashaba) to which is fixed the iron (hadida) of 
the tiller (fadddn); some use the dual (dadjrdn'), as if 
they were speaking of two ears (udhundn 1 ); the iron is 
called sunba (sic; read sinna?), Fad(d)dn is the name of 
all assembled parts (adawdt) of the implement. The 
khashaba placed on the neck ( c unuk) of the ox (sic) is the 
nir. The two samiks are pieces of wood attached to the 
neck. To the pole which [ends in] the centre [of the 
yoke] , is fixed the strap (read Hyan instead of Hndn) of 
the waydj, i.e. the kunnaha. Waydj and mays (read hays 
as in the Mukhassas and in LA, s.v. h-y-s) in Yemeni 
are the name of the long khashaba which passes 
between the two oxen. The piece of wood that the 
ploughman holds is the mikwam." 

The preceding description is not of blinding clarity, 
but by means of the terminology retained by the 
author of the Lisdn and with the help of the list sup- 
plied by Ibn Slduh, it nevertheless allows us to form 
an idea of the elements constituting the tillers at an 
early date. 

The ploughshare (sikka, but also sinn, sinna, na ( l) 
was joined by means of a strap (Hyan) of iron to the 
crossbeam, which could also be called dadjr (and 
vars.), sometimes used in the dual (dadjrdn') because 

1. silb = beam 5. kunnaha = joining pin 

2. dadjr = cross-beam 6. mikwam = handle 

3 . Hyan = strap 7 . sayfdn' = holding bar 

4. sikka = ploughshare 

it was in two parts with one joined to the other by 
another strap and/or a cord (fatit), which could 
indicate that the transition from the tied object to the 
object fitted together had still not been totally 
achieved (?). The Mukhassas says also that the two 
dadjrs were placed at the meeting point of the lu *ama 
and the silb, and defines this last as being the piece of 
wood whose end (one should probably read ft tarafih 

instead of ft taraf) joins on to the ploughshare; but as 
it says that the silb is the longest element of the tiller, 
it is clearly the pole (or beam) called waydj and hays in 
Yemen or in c Uman) and to which it also gives the 
name lu'ama; the Lisdn (s.v. s-l-b) specifies that the end 
of this part was driven into the hole pierced in the 
beginning of the lu^ama; this last, rather imprecise, 
term would designate on the one hand all the parts of 
the tiller, whether of wood or iron, and on the other 
only the ploughshare— which is not very likely — or, 
more probably, like silb, the beam tied to the cross- 
beam at a point called djiddr. Kunnaha, for its part, 
presents a difficulty; the Lisdn (s.v. k-n-h) explains this 
word as designating a polo-stick and, in general, a 
curved piece of wood, whereas, according to Ibn 
Slduh, it is a kind of joining pinused to connect the 
ploughshare (or rather the cross-beam) to the beam. 

The ploughman ensures the proper functioning of 
the tiller and drives the ploughshare in the earth by 
putting pressure on the handle (mikwam; Ibn Slduh 
also gives dastak, from Persian dastah; cf. Dozy, Suppl. , 
s.v. dastadj); this part has not been double for a long 
time, but it doubtless has a holding bar, which is what 
the Mukhassas calls sayfdn'. 

The team itself is not described very exactly, and 
we know simply that the beam was attached to the 
centre of the yoke by means of a trace called djarr. 
Regarding the yoke, the Mukhassas supplies a list of 
terms supposedly synonymous, of which nir is the best 
known today; it also cites nira, arhiwwa (which 
designates a pair of ploughing oxen) and midmad/mid- 
mada, of which the Lisdn (s.v. d-m-d) gives an explana- 
tion which is lacking in clarity. However, we under- 
stand that yokes could assume various forms, one of 
which seems to consist of two yokelets (samikdn') 
which, according to the Lisdn (s.v. s-m-k), are "two 
pieces of wood [each] encircling the neck of the ox like 
a collar and joining under the animal's dewlap (ghab- 
ghab); they are then attached (usira, but shuddd in the 
Mukhassas) to each other by means of a rope". Other 
terms are also cited, notably the mikran which 
designates a piece of wood fixed on the oxen's head, 
when they plough, by means of a rope called tawthik. 
No pole under the belly is mentioned, but there is 
mention of a kirdn or karan, which is a rope passing 
over the oxen's neck and attached to the lu>ama, here 

The two principal sources used mention, im- 
mediately after enumerating the parts of the tiller, a 
still more rudimentary implement for levelling the 
earth after ploughing and burying completely the seed 
which was sown there before the ploughshare had 
turned over the soil; this is the malak or mimlaka, a 
wide board that the ploughman presses on with all his 
weight and was pulled along by two oxen (which is 
rather the Egyptian zahhdfa). 

As W. Marcais (Takrouna, i, 88-9) remarks, the ter- 
minology that can be noted in the work of the classical 
lexicographers "probably contains a certain propor- 

and ei 

uniform, but furthermore, agriculture being left to 
slaves and foreign elements, loan words have been 
detected (see Fraenkel, Aramdische Fremdworter, 131 ff.; 
cf. M. Feghali, Etude sur les emprunls syriaques dans les 
parlers du Liban, 93) which risked increasing the confu- 
sion. In addition, several types of tiller were bound to 
exist, to judge by mediaeval practice [see filaha] that 
the Andalusian agronomists, in particular, describe 
(see L. Bolens, 97 ff.) and by the present or recent 
situation. In fact, in detail, the forms and parts of the 
various implements that can be seen today present 
perceptible differences, and the corresponding ter- 


minology is itself too dissimilar, both in Arabic 
dialects and in Berber— for the use of the tiller is still 
widespread in Barbary— for one to consider giving 
even a rough idea of it here. So we will merely repeat 
the brief description given by Ayrout {Fellahs, 59) of 
the tiller used in Egypt and in other countries of the 
East. This implement, which weighs about 40 kg, 
"consists of a wooden cross-beam fitted with a flat, 
ogival-shaped ploughshare of about 25 cm and a long 
beam of about 3,50 m to which the harnessed animals 
are attached by means of a straight yoke resting on the 
withers and not, as in Europe, on the brow. Two 
water buffaloes are used or the smallholder's water 
buffalo and donkey, or two camels hired for the occa- 
sion, or even a camel and a donkey. The ploughman 
leans on the single handle to drive in the ploughshare 
and follows the walking animals, guiding them with 
his voice and hand, for he does not use reins or a 

The tiller thus described does not differ fundamen- 
tally from that which was in use in ancient Arabia, 
where the very best team consisted of two oxen, just 
as the description of fad(d)dn implies. It is possible that 
the Arabs, who no doubt did not have to respect the 
prohibition of Deuteronomy (xxii, 10: "You shall not 
plough with a donkey and an ox yoked together") any 
more than do the Egyptians of today, used some ill- 
matched teams, but we do not have any immediately 
usable evidence. 

No more do we have information at our disposal on 
the use of camels [see ibil] for ploughing in ancient 
Arabia. Nevertheless, the use of a single camel 
appears characteristic of southern Tunisia and Libya 
(see W. Marcais, Takrouna, i, 182, 189-90). In this 
case, the tiller is somewhat different, in that the beam 
is shorter and that a swingle-bar is attached to the 
ends, traces leading from them to a collar (or half- 
collar) held in place, on the withers, by a system of 

ropes passing over the neck, as well as behind the 
hump and on the crupper; long reins allow the animal 
to be driven (see the detail and local terminology in G. 
Boris, Documents linguistiques el ethnographiques sur une 
region du Sud Tunisien (Nefzaoua), Paris 1951, 19). After 
rejecting (in Mots et chases berberes, 290) the current 
assertion that the Berber peasant sometimes makes his 
wife and donkey draw the tiller, and on the whole 
doubting the evidence of Pliny who claimed to have 
observed such a team, E. Laoust considers (in 
Hesperis, x/1 [1930], 47) that it is advisable not to 
impugn it, for he has meanwhile been able to study a 
very similar implement used in the east of Barbary 
and to establish that it is both rudimentary and light. 
Just as the terminology of the ancient Arab's tiller is 
partially borrowed from Aramaic, so, in Berber, that 
which relates to the team is partly adapted from Latin, 

showing a Roman influence, but not prejudging at all 
the origin of the North African types, which may well 
be considered autochthonous. 

In the opinion of specialists (e.g. V. Mosseri and C. 
Audebeau, Le labourage en Egypte, in BIE, 5th series, x 
[1916], 83-127), the tiller in use "constitutes the 
implement par excellence of regions where it is suffi- 
cient to scratch the ground in order to bury the seed 
and allow it to germinate before the top soil dries out. 
This tiller is also all that is needed when, owing to a 
limited water supply, it is necessary to prevent the 
rapid evaporation of the soil." The tiller with a light 
ploughshare has moreover been used until recently in 
Spain for ploughing on the flat, and it has not been 
entirely replaced by modern ploughs in the regions of 
North Africa where the peasants have to be satisfied 
with it and where the arable land bed will not support 
deep ploughing. 

Bibliography: Apart from the reference cited, 
the classic study of the plough is that of A.G. 
Haudricourt and M.J.B. Delamare, L'homme et la 
charrue a travers le monde, Paris, 1955; a short article 
by the first of these authors appears in the Diction- 
naire archeologique des techniques, Paris, 1963, i, 263-5. 
The terminology of the tiller in Arabic-speaking 
countries has been made the subject of a certain 
number of research studies enumerated in a long 
critical note by W. Marcais in his Textes arabes de 
Takrouna, i, Paris, 1925, 187-90. As far as the 

monograph by E. Laoust, Mots et choses berberes, 
Paris, 1920, 275-301, was completed in an article 
by the same author, Au sujet de la charrue berbere, in 
Hesperis, x/1 (1930), 37-47. The account of H.H. 
Ayrout, Moeurs et coutumes des fellahs , Paris, 1938, has 
been consulted with profit. For Islamic Spain, the 
work of Lucie Bolens, Agronomes andalous du Moyen 
Age, Geneva-Paris, 1981, 97 ff. and bibl. cited, con- 
tains an interesting chapter on ploughing. See also 
P. Behnstedt and M. Woidich, Die agyptisch- 
arabischen Dialekte (Wiesbaden, 1985), i, 62-3, 91-2, 
ii, maps 474-510. (Ch. Pellat) 

MIHRGAN [see mihragan], 

MIHRI KHATUN, an important Turkish 
poetess of the end of the 9th/15th andbeginning of 
the 10th/16th centuries. Although c Ashik Celebi 
clearly states that Mihri was her given name as well 
as her makhlas, later on Ewliya Celebi writes {Seyahat- 
ndme, ii, 192) that it was Mihrmah. (It is possibly as 
her cognomen that Fakhr al-nisa 3 is mentioned in 
'Othmanli mu\llifleri.) Mihri Khatun was a descendant 
of Pir Ilyas, the KhalwetT sheykh of Amasya. Her 
father was a kadi who wrote poetry under the makhlas 
BelayT. Mihri Khatun herself spent her whole life, 
about which very little is known, in and around 
Amasya. She belonged to the literary circle of prince 
Ahmed, son of Bayezid II, during his governorship of 
Amasya in the years 886/1481 (or possibly 890/1485, 
according to Reindl, op. cit. below, 80) to 919/1513. 
Indeed, almost all of the kasides in her Diwdn are 
addressed to him. 

Mihri Khatun is known to have fallen in love 
repeatedly, her best documented loves being 
Mu'eyyed-zade c Abd al-Rahman Celebi, who was 
born in Amasya in 860/1456, later became kadi c asker, 
and wrote poetry under the makhlas KhatemT, and 
Iskender Celebi, son of Sinan Pasha. She sang of her 
loves in her ghazels, and the tedhkiredjis recorded this, 
especially citing a ghazel on Iskender Celebi in which 
she names him through iham (allusion). Yet, at the 
same time, they all agree in emphasing her chastity 


loves and that she lived a blameless life. In fact, she 
is reported to have remained unmarried in spite of 
being blessed with beauty, an ardent temperament, 
and no lack of wooers. 

Mihri Khatun died in Amasya after 27 Dhu '1- 
Hidjdja 917/16 March 1512 and, according to Ewliya 
Celebi, was buried in her ancestor Pir Ilyas's tekye in 

Mihri Khatun was well educated for her sex and 
day, being sufficiently versed in Persian poetic 
imagery and the art of rhetorical embellishment to 
venture on writing Diwan poetry. (According to 
Ewliya Celebi, she even wrote treatises on matters 
related to fikh undfardHd.) She made the poet Nedjatr 
(d. 914/1509) her chief model and many of her poems 
are nazires (parallels) to his. It is said that this irritated 
him somewhat, especially as her manner could at 
times be rather self-congratulatory. However, Mihri 
Khatun did not reach his level of accomplishment. 
What she did achieve in her poems was a striking 
naturalness, a freshness and directness, and an often 
remarkable impact of feeling. In keeping with the 
effect of spontaneity and sincerity given by many of 
her lines, her language is not rhetorically over- 
burdened but rather simple. It is true, however, that 
her images do not display originality, her metaphors 
and similes being mostly the conventional ones. 

Mihri Kh atun left a not particularly voluminous 
Diwan and at least one treatise in rhyme. A number 
of her poems had been made accessible by Smirnov 
and translated by Gibb (op. cit. below) before a critical 
edition of the Diwan based on four mss. was published 
by E.I. Mashtakova (Mikhri Khatun. Divan. Kriticeskiy 
tekst i vstupitel'naya stat'ya, Moscow 1967). This con- 
tains 208 ghazeh, 1 1 kasides, a mustezdd and a ierdji'-i 
bend, 7 murabbaH and a mukhammes as well as 4 nazms 
and 6 mufreds. These poems are preceded in the Diwan 
by a tewhid'm the form of a methnewi of 29 beyts (which 
start with the Arabic letters in their alphabetical 
order) and, more importantly, by her risdle in verse, 
Tadarru'-ndme. Composed mainly in the form of a 
methnewi, but interspersed with about ten poems in the 
form of a ghazel as well as one kaside and one murabba 1 , 
this contains munddjdls, naHs, mewHzes, etc. The whole 
risdle totals about 460 beyts and ends with a touching 
khdtime, which includes a few lines which Mihri 
Khatun said in defence of women. 

Bibliography (in addition to the titles cited 
above): The ledhkires of Sehi, Latlfi, c Ashlk Celebi, 
Kinali-zade Hasan Celebi, Beyanl, Kaf-zade 
Fa^idT; c AlI's Kunh al-akhbdr; Ewliya Celebi's 
Seydhat-ndme , Istanbul 1314, i. 342; Medjdi, Terceme- 
yiShakaHk-i nu'mdniyya, Istanbul 1269, 93 f., 308 f.; 
Mehmed Dhihnl, Meshahir al-nisd*, Istanbul 1295, 
ii, 240 f.; Mu c allim NadjI, Esdmi, Istanbul 1308, 
310; Ahmed Mukhtar Hadjdji-bey-zade, ShdHr 
khanlmlarlmiz, Istanbul 1 3 1 1 , 59 f. ; Sidjill-i '■Othmdni, 
iv, 527; Fa'ik Reshad, Tdrikh-i edebiyydt-l 
'■othmdniyye, Istanbul 1327 (rumi) 195 f.; Shihab al- 
Dln Suleyman and Kopriiliizade M. Fu 3 ad, Yeni 
'■Othmdnll tdrikh-i edebiyydti, Istanbul 1332, 248-53; 
'Othmdnll miiellifleri, ii, 408 f.; C A1I Emlri, Tdrikh we 
edebiyydt medpnu'asi, ii, Istanbul 1335, 508 ff; 
Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte der osmanischen 
Dichtkunst, i, 306-9; V.D. Smirnov, Ocerk istorii 
turetskoy literaturi, in Vseobshcayg istoriya literaturi, pod 
red. V.F. Korsha i A.I. Kirpittnkova, iv, St. 
Petersburg 1892, 478-81; idem, Obraztsovie 
proizvedeniy§ osmanskoy literaturi, St. Petersburg 1891 , 
432-42, and 1903, 449-53; Gibb, HOP, ii, 123-35; 
Hiiseyin Husam al-DIn, Amasya tdrikhi, Istanbul 
1330, i, 217-18, Istanbul 1927, iii, 249; T. Ay, Turk 

kadin sairleri, Istanbul 1934, 52-4; M. Uraz, Kadin 
sair ve muharrirlerimiz, Istanbul 1941, 16 ff.fB. Fer- 
man, Mihri Hanim, hayati ve divdnt (unpubl. thesis, 
Istanbul 1951, Universite kutuphanesi, tez no. 
1976); A. Karahan, in IA, s.v. Mihri Hatun; E.I. 
Mashtakova, K izdaniyu Divana Mikhri Khatun. in 
Kratkie Soobshceniya Instituta Narodov Azii, Ixiii (1963), 
124-35; idem, Ob odnoy rukopisi stikhov Mikhri- 
Khatun, in Pis'mennie Pamyatniki Vostoka, 1969, 208- 
19; P. Kappert, Die osmanischen Prinzen und ihre 
Residenz Amasya im 15. und 16. Jahrhundert, Istanbul 
1976; C.P. Akhaladze, K ponimaniyu lyubovnoy liriki 
Mihri Khatun. in Izvestiya Akademii Nauk Gruzinskoy 
SSR, seriya Yazlka i Literaturi, 1980/4, 79-89; Ismail 
E. Eriinsal, Turk edebiyati tarihine kaynak olarak 
arsivlerin degeri, in Tiirkiyat Mecmuast, xix (1980), 
213-22; idem, Turk edebiyati tarihi'nin arsiv kaynaklan 
I. II. Bdyezid devrine ait bir in 'dmdt Defteri, in Tarih 
Enstitiisii Dergisi, x-xi (1979-80), 303-42; H. Reindl, 
Manner um Bdyezid. Eine prosopographische Studie uber 
die Epoche Sultan Bdyezids II. (1481-1512), Berlin 
1983, 79-99. (Th. Menzel-[E.G. Ambros]) 

MIHTAR [see mehterJ. 

MIHYAR B. Marzawayh (Marzoye) al-Daylami, 
Abu '1-Husayn (Ibn Khallikan) or Abu '1-Hasan 
(other sources), poet who used the Arabic 
language, originally a Zoroastrian but becoming a 
convert to Islam in 394/1004 at the hands of al-gharif 
al-Radl (359-406/970-1016 [q.v.]), dying in 428/1037. 
The famous Shf-I poet and nakib of the descendants 
of the Prophet took charge of the education of his pro- 
tege, into whom he inculcated not only the basic prin- 
ciples of ShF-ism but also the necessary skills for him 

tary i 

. He 

naturally took care also to teach him the rules 
sification, but his pupil very soon showed the natural 
talents which were to make him one of the most famed 
poets of the 5th/ 11th century. 

Apart from the items of information concerning his 
relations with the Sharif, under whose protection he 
seems to have lived, we have virtually no other 
biographical information about Mihyar, whose exten- 
sive Diwan nevertheless in itself supplies material for 
a substantial study. 

This poet, who amply copied his master, attempted 
almost all the poetic genres, but did not display an 
equal talent for all of them. Thus his descriptions were 
considered to be prosaic, as also his eulogies, which 
seem lengthy; but on the other hand, he excelled in 
the sphere of the ghazal [q.v.], friendly or amorous 
reproach (Htdb), versified epistles addressed to his 
friends (ikhwdniyydt) and above all in the funeral 
eulogy or elegy or rithd-' [see marthiya]. As a good 
disciple of al-Sharif al-Radl, he successfully celebrated 
the memories of c Ali and al-Husayn (see e.g. Diwan, 
Cairo 1344-50/1925-31, ii, 259-62, 367-70, iii, 109, 
etc.), and his poems of condolence (ta'dzi; Diwan, i, 
72-4, iii, 6-8, 54-8, etc.) are highly appreciated; but 
the poem in -mim (Diwdn, iii, 366-70), in which he 
laments the death of his master, is considered to be a 
masterpiece and is used as a basis for comparison. 
The SunnI sources, which naturally blame him for his 
Rafidi beliefs and which cite a witticism according to 
which his conversion to Islam merely transferred him 
from one corner of Hell to another, nevertheless 
adjudge his poetry to be of an "extreme beauty" (e.g. 
Ibn TaghrlbardI, Nudjum, v, 26-7), and even the 
Spaniard Ibn Bassam (in Ibn al- c Imad, Shadhardt, iii, 
243) is said to have praised him highly. A critic like 
c AlIDj. al-Tahhial-Shfyal-'arabifi 'l-Hrak wa-bildd al- 
'Adjamfi 7-W al-saldj.uki, Baghdad 1958-61, ii, 205, 
209) considers that the decline of Arabic poetry begins 

after Mihyar and that the Saldjuk period is 
characterised by a tendency towards imitation and 
even towards making a pastiche of al-Radi and his 

Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the text): al-Khatlb al-Baghdadi, TaMkh Baghdad, 
xiii, 276; Ibn al- c Imad, Shadharat, iii, 242-3; Ibn 
Khallikan, Wafayat, ii, 195-7; Ibn Kathlr, Biddya, 
xii, 41-2; Ibn al-Athlr, Kdmil, ix, index; D.S. 
Margoliouth, The poems of Mihyar the Dailemite, in 
Oriental studies in honour of Cursetji Erachji Pavry, Lon- 
don 1933, 286-92; Brockelmann, I, 82, S I, 132; 
c Ali al-Kallal, Mihydr al-Daylami wa-shi c ruhu, Cairo 
1948; Isma c Tl Husayn, Mihyar al-Daylami, bahth wa- 
nakd wa-tahlil, Cairo n.d.; Muhammad c Ali Musa, 
Mihyar al-Daylami, Beirut 1961; Zirikll, AHam, vii, 
264; Kahhala, Mu%am, xiii, 32-3; Sezgin, GAS, ii, 
566-7,_ix, 301. (Ch. Pellat) 

MIKAL, the archangel Michael [see also 

viz. in II, 92: "Whosoever is an enemy to God, or his 
angels, or his apostles, or to Gabriel or to Michael, 
verily God is an enemy to the unbelievers." In 
explanation of this verse two stories are told. Accord- 
ing to the first, the Jews, wishing to test the veracity 
of the mission of Muhammad, asked him several 
questions, to all of which he gave the true answer. 
Finally, they asked him, who transmitted the revela- 
tions to him? When he answered, Gabriel, the Jews 
declared that this angel was their enemy and the angel 
of destruction and penury, in opposition to Michael 
whom they said to be their protector and the angel of 
fertility and salvation (al-Tabarl, To/sir, i, 324 ff.). 

the synagogue (midras) of Medina and asked the Jews 

of that angel as well as of Michael similar to the one 
mentioned above, whereupon c Umar asked: What is 
the position of those two angels with God? They 
replied: Gabriel is to His right and Michael to His left 
hand, and there is enmity between the two. 
Whereupon c Umar answered: If they have that posi- 
with God, there can be no enmity between them. 


whosoever is an enemy to one of the two, is an enemy 
to God. Thereupon c Umar went to meet Muham- 
mad, who received him with the words: Gabriel has 
anticipated you by the revelation of "Whosoever is an 
enemy", etc. (sura II, 92; al-Tabarl, Tafsir, i, 327; al- 
Zamakhsharl, 92; al-BaydawI ad sura II, 91). 

We do not know of any Jewish traditions which 
ascribe to Gabriel a hostile attitude towards the Jews. 
For the statements regarding Michael as com- 
municated above, there is sufficient literary evidence. 
In Daniel, xii, 1, Michael is called the great prince, 
the protector of the people of Israel; cf. Targum Can- 
ticum, viii, 9: "Michael, the lord of Israel"; Daniel x, 
13, 21, where Michael is said to have protected the 
Jews against the kings of Persia and Greece; further 
I Enoch, xx, 5, where he is called the protector of the 
best part of mankind; Testamentum Levi, xv, 6; Test. 
Dan., vi, 2. 

In Vita Adami et Evae, ch. xii ff., it is Michael who 
orders Satan and the other angels to worship Adam. 
Although the story is mentioned several times in the 
Kur'an [see iblis], there is no trace in Muslim 
literature of the role ascribed to Michael in Vita Adami 
et Evae; the only mention of Michael in the Muslim 
legend is that he and Gabriel were the first to worship 
Adam, in opposition to IblTs who refused to do so (al- 
Kisa'I, 27). 

Neither does Muslim literature seem to have pre- 

ved other features ascribed to Michael in Jewish 
Apocrypha (mediator between God and mankind, I 
Enoch xl, 9; Test. Dan., vi, 2; 3 Baruch, xl, 2), or in 
the New Testament (Jude, v. 9: Michael disputing 
with the devil about the body of Moses; Revelation, 
xii, 7 ff.: Michael and his angels fighting against the 
dragon and the final discomfiture of the latter). 
Perhaps a faint recollection of Michael as the protec- 
tor of mankind (the Jews, the Christians) may be 
found in the tradition according to which Michael 
has never laughed since the creation of Hell (Ahmad 
b. Hanbal, iii, 224). Further, however, Michael is 
rarely mentioned in hadith (al-Bukharl, Bad'' al-khalk, 
bab 7, where he, together with Malik, the guardian of 
Hell, and Gabriel, appears to Muhammad in a 
dream; al-Nasa'I, Iftitah, bab 37, where Michael 
incites Gabriel to urge Muhammad to recite the 
Kur'an according to seven ahruf). 

Al-Ya c kubl mentions a story of which we have no 
counterpart in Jewish or Christian literature either, 
which is not surprising, the story bearing an 
outspoken Shi*! tendency. One day, God announced 
to Gabriel and Michael that one of them must die. 
Neither, however, was willing to sacrifice himself on 
behalf of his partner, whereupon God said to them: 
Take C A1I as an example, who was willing to give his 
on behalf of Muhammad (sc. on the night before 
the hidjra; al-Ya c kubI, ii, 39). 

Michael is further mentioned by name as one of the 
ingels who opened the breast of Muhammad before 
his night journey (al-Tabarl, i, 1157-9; Ibn al-Athir, 
ii, 36-7), and as one of those who came to the aid of 
the Muslims in the battle of Badr (Ibn Sa c d, ii/1, 9, 

In the text of the Kurgan, as well as in a verse cited 
by al-Tabari (i, 329), the form of the name is Mikal 
as if it were a mifal form from wakala (Horovitz). A 
direct reminiscence of the Greek, probably also of the 
Hebrew and Aramaic, forms of the name is to be 
found in the tradition preserved by al-Kisa 5 T (12), 
which calls Mlkha 3 !! the attendant of the second 
heaven, in contradistinction to Mlka 3 !!, who is the 
guardian of the sea in the seventh heavens (15). Other 
forms of the name are MIka'il, Mika'il, Mika'Il, 
Mlka'm and Mika'ill. It is hardly necessary to say 
that, in the magical use of the names of the 
archangels, that of Mlka'Tl is on the same level as that 
of his companions (see e.g. S.M. Zwemer, The influ- 
ence of animism on Islam, 193, 197). 

Bibliography: Ya c kubl, Ta~>rikh, ed. Houtsma; 

Kisa'i, Kisas al-anbiya\ ed. Eisenberg, Leiden 1922, 

Eng. tr. W. Thackston, Boston 1978; Tabarl, i, 

329-30; LA, xx, 159 (on the form of the name and 

its meaning); Ibn Hisham, ed. Wustenfeld, 328, 

624; N. Rhodokanakis, in WZKM, xvii, 282; 

Umayya b. Abi Salt, ed. F. Schulthess, in Beitrage 

zur Assynologie, vii, no. lv, 1. 8 (spurious); J. 

Horovitz, Koranische Unlersuchungen, Leipzig-Berlin 

1926, 243; art. mala'ika. (A.J. Wensinck) 

MIKALIS, an Iranian family of Khurasan 

prominent in the cultural and social worlds there and 

also active as local administrators and town officials 

under the Samanids and early Ghaznawids [q.vv.]. 

They were apparently of Soghdian origin, and 
amongst their pre-Islamic forebears is mentioned the 
Prince of Pandjkent Shir Divastic, killed at Mount 
Mugh by the Arabs in 104/722-3 [see ma warA' al- 
nahr. 2. History]; al-Sam c anI traces the family back 
to the Sasanids Yazdagird II and Bahrain Gur (K. al- 
Ansab, facs. edn., fols. 548b-549b). It must never- 
theless have become Muslim, for Islamic names now 
appear in its genealogy, and like many other families 


from Khurasan and the far eastern fringes of the 
Islamic world, its members were drawn westwards to 
the new capital Baghdad by the early c Abbasids. Shah 
b. MIkal (d. 302/914-15) was a protege of the Tahirids 
and the mamduh of the poet al-Buhturl [q.v.]. Shah b. 
Mikal's nephew c Abd Allah b. Muhammad began in 
the service of the Saffarids [q.v.] and became governor 
of Ahwaz. His son Abu 'l-<Abbas Isma'n had the 
philologist Ibn Durayd [q.v. ] as his tutor, and the lat- 
ter wrote for him his great dictionary, the Djamharat 
al-lugha, and dedicated to him his Maksim poem [q. v. ] . 

Under Abu 'l- c Abbas Isma c Il, the family moved 
back to Khurasan and settled in Nlghapur. He himself 
was given the headship of the Diwdn al-rasdHl or 
chancery in 347/958 by the Samanid vizier Abu 
Dja c far al- c UtbI, holding this post till his death in 
362/973, and was also apparently the first Mikali ra^is 
(i.e. municipal head and representative of the town 
notables vis-d-vis the central government; see on this 
office, C.E. Bosworth, The Ghaznavids, 184-5; A.K.S. 
Lambton, in Camb. hist, of Iran, v, 279-81; and R.M. 
Bulliet, The patricians of Nishapur, Cambridge, Mass. 
1972, 66-8), corresponding as such with the author 
and stylist Abu Bakr al-Kh w arazmI [q.v.]. His son 
Abu Muhammad c Abd Allah (d. 379/989-90) followed 
his father in these offices, and was known as an 
authority on fikh and as a fine poet, specimens of 
whose verses are given by al-Tha c alibI (Yatlmat al- 
dahr, Damascus, iv, 397-8, Cairo 1375-7/1956-8, iv, 
417-18); the geographer al-MukaddasI [q.v. ] stayed 
with him when visiting Nishapur and participated in 
his madjalis (see A. Miquel, Ahsan at-taqdsim ft ma c rifat 
al-aqdlim (La meilleure repartition ...), Damascus 1963, 
350 and refs. there). Another son Abu Dja c far also 
became ra^is and was praised as a poet and traditionist 
by Badl 1 al-Zaman al-Hamadhanl [q.v.], with whom 
he frequently corresponded. 

With the decay and collapse of the Samanid amlrate 
in Khurasan, the Mlkalls subsequently transferred 
their allegiance to the new masters of the province, the 
Ghaznawids. Abu Dja c far's grandson, Kh^adja Abu 
'1-Kasim C A1I, is often mentioned by the historian 
Bayhaki in his TaMkh-i Mas'udi as raHs of Nishapur; 
sultans Mahmud and Mas c ud employed him as a 
high-level diplomatic envoy, and in 423/1032 he led 
the glittering pilgrimage caravan of Transoxania and 
Khurasan to the Holy Cities. 

A parallel line of the Mlkalls was that of Abu 
Muhammad 'Abd Allah's elder brother Abu '1-Kasim 
<A1I (d. 376/986-7), known from his love of dphad as 
al-Muttawwi c ; he fought against the Byzantines in 
Cilicia and against the pagan Turks on the Central 
Asian desert fringes, founding ribdts at Farawa and 
endowing them with awkdf (al-MukaddasI, 320 n. s). 
His son Abu c Abd Allah Husayn was katkhudd or 
quartermaster of the Ghaznawid army in Khurasan 
during its campaigns to stem the tide of Oghuz incur- 
sions; captured by the Turkmens in 426/1035, he 
went over to the Saldjuk side, and Ibn al-Athlr lists 
him as Toghril Beg's second vizier, the Ra^is al-ru'asa' 
the Sihib Ibn MIkal (see H. Bowen, Notes on some early 
Seljuqid viziers, in BSOAS, xx [1957], 107-8; c Abbas 
Ikbal, Wizarat dar '•ahd-i salatin-i buzurg-i Saldjuki, 
Tehran 1338/1959, 39-40). Abu c Abd Allah Husayn's 
nephew Abu '1-Fadl c Ubayd Allah (d. 436/1044-5) 
was perhaps the Mikali who enjoyed the greatest 
literary reputation as poet, stylist and traditionist, 
friend of the anthologist c Abd Allah al- c AbdalkanI, 
author of a (lost) commentary on the Hamdsa of Abu 
Tammam, compiler of anthologies, including al- 
Muntakhab al-Mikdli (extant in an Istanbul ms.), and 
composer of epistles and poetry (the latter edited by 

; 1908). 

A. Moberg, Die Gedichte ..., Leipzig 
Brockelmann, I 2 , 340-1, S I, 503 (where the names 
given as c Abd al-Rahlm and/or c Abd Allah are to be 
corrected); Sezgin, GAS, ii, 70, 77-8, 642-3; al- 
Bakharzl, Dumyat al-kasr, Aleppo 1348/1930, 122-3, 
Cairo 1388/1968, ii, 147-52; Ibn Shakir al-Kutubl, 
Fawdt al-wafaydt, Cairo 1951, ii, 52-8, ed. c Abbas, 
Beirut 1973-4, ii, 428-33. 

Yet another collateral branch of the Mlkalls was 
that whose best-known representative was Abu C A1I 
Hasan b. Muhammad, called Hasanak [q.v.], vizier 
and favourite of sultan Mahmud, but to be executed 
by Mas c ud in 432/1031 on a trumped-up charge of 
Isma c flT sympathies. He, like other members of his 
family, had the reputation of a maecenas, being the 
mamduh of the Ghaznawid court poet Farrukhi [q.v.], 
and was active in public and charitable works in 
Nishapur. There seems to have been a feud between 
Hasanak and the sons of Abu Nasr Ahmad Mikali, 
father of the Abu '1-Fadl c Ubayd Allah mentioned 
above, for Hasanak dispossessed them of lands and 
rights in Nishapur, and all these were only restored to 
them in 424/1033 by the Ghaznawid vizier Ahmad b. 
c Abd al-Samad Shlrazl. 

Finally, it should be noted that the Mlkalls exer- 
cised political and social influence beyond the confines 
of Nishapur itself: Ibn Funduk devotes a section of his 
local history of Bayhak to the Mlkaliyan {Ta\ikh-i 
Bayhak, ed. Ahmad Bahmanyar, Tehran 1317/1938, 

We lack information on the family after the mid- 
5th/l 1th century; it seems improbable that their influ- 
ence could disappear abruptly, though it may well be 
that Saldjuk domination in Khurasan was, in the long 
term, unfavourable to the maintenance of their social 
and political power in Nishapur. 

Bibliography: In addition to the references given 
in the article, see Muhammad, Shaft, The sons of 
Mikdl, in Procs. of the Idara-i Maarit-i Islamia, Lahore 
1933, first session, Lahore 1935, 107-68; Bosworth, 
The Ghaznavids, 179-85, and R.W. Bulliet, art. Al-e 
Mikdl, in Encycl. Iranica. Sa c id Nafisi gathered 
together uncritically much information on the 
Mlkalls in the notes to his edition of Bayhaki, 
Tehran 1319-32/1940-53, ii. 969-1009, with a 
genealogical table at p. 1008; according to Bulliett, 
Patricians, 67 n. 23, the biographical historian of 
Nishapur c Abd al-Ghafir al-FarisI mentions several 
further Mlkalls not recorded by Nafisi. See also H. 
Ritter, Die Geheimnisse des Wortkunst des 'Abdalgahir 
al-Curcam, Wiesbaden 1959, 27-32 (= n. 17) [with 

MIKAT (a., mifdl form from w-k-t, plural 
mawakit) appointed or exact time. In this sense the 
term occurs several times in the Kur'an (II, 185; VII, 
138, 139, 154; XXVI, 37; XLIV, 40; LVI, 50; 
LXXVIII, 17). 

1. Legal aspects. In hadith and fikh, the term is 
applied to the times of prayer and to the places where 
those who enter the haram are bound to put on the 
ihrdm. For the latter meaning of the term, see ihram. 

Although some general indications for the times at 
which some saldls are to be performed occur in the 
Kur'an (cf. II, 239; XI, 116; XVII, 80; XXIV, 29), 
it may be considered above doubt that during 
Muhammad's lifetime neither the number of the daily 
saldts nor their exact times had been fixed and that this 
happened in the first decades after his death. 

A reminiscence of that period of uncertainty may be 
preserved in those traditions which apply a deviating 
nomenclature to some of the saldts. The saldt al-zuhr, 
e.g., is called al-hadpr al-uld; the saldt al-maghrib, Hshd x , 

the salat al-Hsha', c atama; the salat al-fadjr, ghadat (al- 
Bukharl, Mawakit al-saldt, bab 13, 19). In other tradi- 
tions, the term al-^atama as applied to the salat al-Hsha' 
is ascribed to the Bedouins and prohibited (Muslim, 
Masadjid, trads. 228, 229; Abu Dawud, HudUd, bab 78; 
Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, 11, 10, etc.); cf. on the 
other hand, al-Bukhari, Mawakit, bab 20; Muslim, 
Salat, trad. 129, etc., where the term '■atama is used 

From some traditions so much may be gathered, 
that the — or at least some of the — Umayyads showed 
a predelection for postponing the times of the salat (al- 
Bukhari, Mawdkil, bab 7; Muslim, Masadjid, trads. 
166, 167; al-Nasa'T, lmama, bab 18, 55; Zayd b. c Alf, 
Madjmu' al-fikh, no. 113). 

In opposition to this, a salat in due time is declared 
the best of works (al-Bukharl, Djihdd, bab 1; Mawakit, 
bab 5; Muslim, [man, trads. 138, 139; al-Tirmidhi, 
Salat, bab 13; Birr, bab 2). In other traditions, this is 
said of a salat at its earliest time (al-Tirmidhi, Salat, 
bab 13). 

This early state of things is reflected in several 
respects in a tradition according to which c Umar b. 
c Abd al- c Aziz once postponed one of the salats and was 
rebuked for this by c Urwa b. al-Zubayr, who related 
to him that al-Mughira b. Shu c ba had once been 
rebuked for the same reason by Abu Mas c ud al- 
Ansarf, on account of the fact that Gabriel himself had 
descended five times in order to perform the five salats 
at their exact times in the presence of Muhammad. 
Thereupon c Umar admonished c Urwa to be careful in 
his statements (al-Bukhari, Mawakit, bab 1; Muslim, 
Masadjid, trads. 166, 167; al-Nasa 3 !, Mawakit, bab 10). 

Some early groups of traditions affect to reproduce 

mad's lifetime. 

a. The salat al-zuhr was performed at noon, when 
the sun was beginning to decline (al-Bukharl, 
Mawakit, bib 11); 

_b. the salat al-'-asr when the sun was shining into 
'A'isha's room, no shadows being yet cast there (al- 
Bukharl, Mawikit, bab 13; Muslim, Masadjid, trad. 
168). After this salat, people had still time to visit the 
remotest parts of the town, while the sun was still 
"alive" or "pure" (al-Bukhari, Mawakit, bdbs 1, 13, 
H, 18, 21); 

c. the salat al-maghrib was finished at a time when 
people could still perceive the places where their 
arrows fell down (al-Bukhari, Mawakit, bab 21); 

d. the salat al-Hshd' was sometimes postponed till a 
late hour, sometimes till the first third of the night had 
passed (al-Bukhari, Mawakit, bdbs 11, 20, 21, 24); 

e. the salat al-fadjr was performed by Muhammad 
at a time when a man could discern his neighbour (al- 
Bukharl, Mawakit, bab 13); but the women on their 
way home could not yet be recognised (al-Bukharf, 
Mawakit, bab 27). 

In a second layer of traditions, these general indica- 
tions are specified by the mention of the first and the 
last limits allowed for the different prayers (cf. e.g. 
Muslim, Masadjid, trads. 176, 177). On one day, 
Muhammad performed: 

a. the salat al-zuhr when the sun began to decline; 

b. the salat al- c asr when the sun was still high, white 

c. the salat al-maghrib immediately after sunset; 

d. the salat al-Hsha^ when the twilight had disap- 

e. the salat al-fadjr at daybreak. 

On the following day Muhammad performed: 

a. the zuhr later than the day before; 

b. the c asr later than the day before, the sun being 
still high up; 

. the maghrib before the twilight had disappeared; 

. the Hshd' when the first of the night had passed; 

. the fadjr when sunrise was near (asfara biha). 

n a tradition communicated by al-Shafi c I (Kitab al- 

m, i, 62), the fixing of the mawakit just mentioned 

scribed to the example of Gabriel (cf. Zayd b. C A1I, 
Maajmu" al-fikh, no. 109). These mawakit have for the 

it passed into the books oifikh. We cannot repro- 
duce all details here. The following scheme may 

a. zuhr. from the time when the sun begins to 
decline till the time when shadows are of equal length 
with the objects by which they are cast, apart from 
their shadows at noon. The HanafTs alone deviate in 
one of their branches, in so far as they replace the 
ultimate term by the time when the shadows are twice 
as large as their objects. In times of great heat, it is 
recommended to postpone the zuhr as late as possible; 

b. V: from the last time allowed for zuhr till before 
sunset. According to Malik, the first term begins 

when the red twilight has disappeared. Small devia- 
tions only, in connection with a predilection for the 

d. Hsha'. from the last term mentioned for the salat 
al-maghrib till when a third, or half of the night has 
passed, or till daybreak; 

e. fadjr: from daybreak till before sunrise. 
Side-by-side with these mawakit, we find in the 

books of Tradition and of Law the times at which it 

and sunset (al-Bukharl, Mawakit, bdbs 30-2; Muslim, 
Soldi al-musdfirin, trads. 285-94; cf. al-Nawawi's com- 
mentary for controversies regarding this point, and 
further Wensinck, A handbook of early Muh. trad. , 192a). 
According to 'A'isha, it is only forbidden to await 
sunrise and sunset for prayer (Muslim, Musdfirin, 
trad. 296). In Mecca, prayer is allowed at all times (al- 
Bukharl, Hadidi, bab 42). 

Bibliography: Apart from the works cited, see 
Zayd b. c Ali, Madjmu c al-fikh, ed. Griffini, Milan 
1919, 23-6: Abu '1-K5sim al-Muhakkik, Kitab 
ShardY al-Isldm, Calcutta 1255, 26; A. Querry, 
Droit musulman, Paris 1871, 50 ff.; Malik, al- 
Muwatta\ ch. Wukut al-saldt, i, 12 ff.; Khalll b. 
Ishak, al-Mukhtasar fi 'l-fi'kh, Paris 1318/1900, 13 f.; 

1. Guidi and D. Santillana, II Muhtasar o sommario del 
diritto malechka di Halil ibn Ishdq, Milan 1919, i, 45 
ff.; Shafi c r, Kitab al-Umm, Cairo 1321-5, i, 61 ff.; 
Th.W. Juynboll, Handleiding tot de kennis van de Moh. 
Wet, Leiden 1925, 53 f.; Burhan al-DIn Abu '1- 
Hasan C A1T b. Abi Bakr al-Marghinam, al-Hiddya 
wa 'l-kifdya, Bombay 1280, i, 83-9; al-SJia'ranT, al- 
Mizdn al-kubra, Cairo 1279, i, 158-60. 

(A.J. Wensinck) 

2. Astronomical aspects. 7/m al-mikdt is the 
science of astronomical timekeeping by the sun and 
stars and the determination of the times (mawakit) of 
the five prayers. Since the limits of the permitted 
intervals for the prayers are defined in terms of the 
apparent position of the sun in the sky relative to the 
local horizon, their times vary throughout the year 
and are dependent upon the terrestrial latitude. When 
reckoned in terms of a meridian other than the local 
meridian, the times of prayer are also dependent upon 

The definitions of the times of prayer outlined in 
the Kurgan and hadith [see 1 , Legal aspects] were stan- 
dardised in the 2nd/8th century and have been used 
ever since. According to these standard definitions, 
the Islamic day and the interval for the maghrib prayer 
begin when the disc of the sun has set over the 

horizon. The intervals for the 'ishp and fadjr prayers 
begin at nightfall and daybreak. The permitted time 
for the zuhr begins either when the sun has crossed the 
meridian, or when the shadow of any object has been 
observed to increase, or, in mediaeval Andalusian and 
Maghrib! practice, when the shadow of any vertical 
object or gnomon has increased over its midday 
minimum by one-quarter of the length of the object. 
The interval for the W begins when the shadow 
increase equals the length of the gnomon and ends 
either when the shadow increase is twice the length of 
the gnomon or at sunset. See Figs. 1 and 2. 

The names of the prayers are derived 
names of the corresponding seasonal hours 
in pre-Islamic classical Arabic, the seasonal 
sa'-at al-zamdniyyd) being one-twelfth divisi 
day and night. The definitions of the tir 
daylight prayers in terms of shadow increases (as 
opposed to shadow lengths in the hadith) represent a 
practical means of regulating the prayers in terms of 
the seasonal hours. 

In some circles, a sixth prayer, the duha, was per- 
formed at the same time before midday as the W was 
performed after midday. These definitions of the duha, 
zuhr, and c asr correspond to the third, sixth and ninth 
seasonal hours, the links being provided by an 
approximate Indian formula relating shadow 
increases to the seasonal hours (see below). The 
Umayyad Caliph c Umar b. c Abd al- c AzTz [q.v.] is 
reported to have used a (Graeco-Roman) sundial 
(marked with the seasonal hours) for regulating his 
prayers. The early c Abbasid astronomer al- 
Kh»arazmi [q.v.] was still toying with different 


and tl 


' intended tc 


at two different levels. At the popular level, the simple 
techniques of folk astronomy were used. Muslim 
astronomers, on the other hand, used sophisticated 
tables and instruments for timekeeping. 

As we see from treatises on folk astronomy and on 
the sacred law, in popular practice the daylight 
prayers were regulated by simple arithmetical shadow 
schemes of the kind also attested in earlier Hellenistic 
and Byzantine folk astronomy. The night prayers 
were regulated by observation of the lunar mansions 
[see manazil]. As the 7th/13th century Yemeni legal 
scholar al-Asbahi wrote in his treatise on folk 
astronomy: "The times of prayer are not to be found 
by the degrees (marked) on an astrolabe and not by 
calculation using the science of the astronomers; they 
are to be found only by direct observation ... The 
astronomers took their knowledge from Euclid and 
the Sindhind, and from Aristotle and other philo- 
sophers; all of them were infidels." 

Some twenty different shadow schemes have been 
located in the Arabic sources. In most cases, they are 
not the result of any careful observations. Usually a 
single one-digit value for the midday shadow of a man 
7 kadams ("feet") tall is given for each month of the 
year. One such scheme, attested in several sources, is 
(starting with a value for January): 

9 7 5 3 2 1 1 2 4 5 (or 6) 8 10. 
The corresponding values for the shadow length at the 
beginning of the W prayer are 7 units more for each 

Other arithmetical schemes are sometimes 
presented in order to find the shadow length at each 
seasonal hour of day. The most popular formula 
find the increase (As) of the 

t T ( < 6) seasonal 

s after sunrise or before si 

T-6 n/ (As + n), 
where n is the length of the gnomon. This is the for- 
mula which was first used to establish the values As = n 
for the 3rd and the 9th seasonal hours of daylight, the 
beginnings of the duhdund < asr(T = 3), and As - In for 
the 10th hour, sometimes taken as the end of the W 

The Muslim astronomers had a passion for compil- 
ing tables, and some of these were specifically for the 
purpose of timekeeping. Al-Kh w arazmi prepared the 
first known tables for regulating the times of the 
daylight prayers. Computed for the latitude of 
Baghdad, his tables display the shadow lengths at the 
zuhr and the beginning and end of the W, with values 
for each 6° of solar longitude (corresponding roughly 
to each six days of the year): see PI. IX, 1. He also 
compiled some simple tables displaying the time of 
day in seasonal hours in terms of the observed solar 

The 3rd/9th c< 

ititudes. The underlying forn 
T=ir - . .. . 

; A1T 1 


h is the observed altitude and H is 

:. (Note that T= when h = and T= 6 when 

as required for the cases when the sun is on the 

l and the meridian; in fact this formula is 

te only when the sun is at the equinoxes.) Ibn 

Qr simply tabulated T{h, H) for each degree of 

r g uments(A<//). 

accurate method for finding T(h, H). These involve 
the semi-diurnal arc D and the use of the versed sine 
function (vers 8=1 - cos 6). The standard mediaeval 
formula is (in modern notation): 

vers (D-T) = vers D - sin h vers D I sin H, 
which can be derived with facility by means of an 
analemma construction applied to the celestial sphere. 
This formula was adopted by Muslim astronomers 

The modern formula for the hour-angle I ( = D -T) 
can also be derived by these procedures. It is: 

cos t = (sin h - sin 8 sin <p) / (cos 8 cos <p), 
where 8 is the solar declination and <p is the local 
latitude (note that H = 90° - <p + 8), and is used in 
this form by later Muslim astronomers (see al-Khalrli, 

Likewise, from the 3rd/9th century onwards, we 
find descriptions of how to find the time of day or 
night using an analogue computer such as an 
astrolabe [see asturlab] or using a calculating device 

there is no need to know the formula; in the second 
case, one uses the formula to compute specific 

c Ali b. Amadjur also compiled a table of T(h, H) for 
Baghdad based on an accurate trigonometric formula. 
Some prayer-tables for Ba gh dad preserved in the ZTdj_ 
of the 7th/13th century astronomer al-Kasim b. 
Mahfuz al-Baghdadi, which display, for example, the 
duration of twilight for each day of the year, were 
probably another early c Abbasid production. Quan- 
titative estimates of the angle of depression of the sun 
at nightfall and daybreak occur in the Zidj. of the 
3rd/9th century astronomer Habash al-Hasib [q.v.]. 
Quantitative estimates of the effect of refraction at the 
horizon were first made in the 4th/ 10th century by the 
Cairene astronomer Ibn YCnus [q.v.]. Isolated tables 
displaying the altitudes of the sun at the zuhr and W 
prayers and the duration of morning and evening 
twilight occur in several early mediaeval Islamic 
astronomical works, usually of the genre known as 
zidj_. Several early examples of extensive tables for 
reckoning time by day from the solar altitude or for 
reckoning time of night from altitudes of certain 
prominent fixed stars have come to light. All of these 
tables were computed for a specific locality, and to use 
any of them one needed an instrument, such as an 
astrolabe, to measure celestial altitudes or the passage 
of time. There is no evidence that these tables were 
widely used. 

In practice, at least before the 7th/13th century, the 
regulation of the prayer-times was the duty of the 
mu^a dhdh in or muezzin [see adhan and masdtid]. The 
muezzins were appointed for the excellence of their 
voices and their character, and they needed to be pro- 
ficient only in the rudiments of folk astronomy. They 
had to know the shadows at the zuhr and the W for 
each month, and which lunar mansion was rising at 
daybreak and setting at nightfall, information which 
was conveniently expressed in the form of 
mnemonics. They did not need astronomical tables or 
instruments. The necessary techniques are outlined in 
the chapters on prayer in the books of sacred law [see 
fikh], and the qualifications of the muezzin are some- 
times detailed in works on public order [see hisba and 
ihtisab]. See, for example, the discussion of their 
responsibilities by Ibn al-Ukhuwwa [q.v.] (ed. R. 
Levy, text, 176-8, tr. 63-5) and the criticism of their 
mentality by the scientist al-BIrum [q.v.] (E.S. Ken- 
nedy, Shadows, i, 75-6, 226-30, and ii, 28-9, 142-3). 

In the 7th/13th century, there occurred a new 
development whose origins are obscure. In Egypt we 

find the first mention of the institution of the muwakkit 
[q.v.], a professional astronomer associated with a 

the regulation of the times of prayer. Simultaneously, 
there appeared astronomers with the epithet mikaii 
who specialised in spherical astronomy and 
astronomical timekeeping (Him al-mikdt), but who 
were not necessarily associated with any religious 

In Cairo later in that century, a mikdti named Abu 
C A1I al-Marrakushi [q.v.] compiled a compendium of 
spherical astronomy and instruments from earlier 
sources which was to set the tone of Him al-mikdt for 
several centuries. His treatise, appropriately entitled 
Djd mi c al-mabddp wa- 'l-ghdydtfi Him al-mikdt ("An A to 
Z of astronomical timekeeping"), was investigated by 
the Sedillots p'ere el fits in the 19th century. 

Al-Marrakushl's contemporary, Shihab al-Din al- 
Maksi, compiled a set of tables displaying the time 
since sunrise as a function of solar altitude h and solar 
longitude X for the latitude of Cairo (based on an 
earlier set by the 4th/10th century astronomer Ibn 
Yunus [q.v.]), which in the 8th/14th century was 
expanded and developed into a corpus of tables cover- 
ing some 200 manuscript folios and containing over 
30,000 entries. The Cairo corpus of tables for 
timekeeping was used for several centuries and sur- 
vives in numerous copies, no two of which contain the 
same tables. Besides tables displaying the time since 
sunrise / hour-angle (time remaining until midday) / 
solar azimuth for each degree of solar altitude, which 
make up the bulk of the corpus (see PI. X, 3), there 
are other tables displaying the solar altitude and hour- 
angle as the Hist, the solar altitude and hour-angle 
when the sun is in the direction of the kibla [q. v.], and 
the duration of morning and evening twilight. In 
some later copies of the corpus, there are tables for 
regulating the time when the lamps on minarets 
during Ramadan should be extinguished (tafy al- 
kanddil) and when the muezzin should pronounce a 
blessing (saldm) on the Prophet Muhammad: see PI. 

for orienting the large ventilators (bddahandj [see 
badgir in Suppl.]) on Cairo rooftops so that their 
south-eastern sides face winter sunrise [see makka. 4. 
As the centre of the world]. 

Al-Maksl also compiled an extensive treatise on 
sundial theory, including tables of coordinates for 
marking the curves on horizontal sundials for dif- 
ferent latitudes and vertical sundials for Cairo with 
any inclination to the local meridian [see mizwala]. 
The latter were particularly useful for constructing 
sundials on the walls of mosques in Cairo, and the 
special curves for the zuhr and W enabled the faithful 
to see how much time remained until the muezzin 
the call to prayer, 
of al-Marrakushi and of al-Maksi 
named Nadjm al-Din al-Misri was clearly disturbed 
by the fact that the available tables for timekeeping 
served only specific latitudes and that they were either 
for timekeeping by day of for timekeeping by night. 
He compiled a table for timekeeping which served all 
latitudes and could be used for timekeeping by the sun 
or by the stars. In his table, one feeds in the instan- 
taneous altitude of the sun or any star, as well as the 
meridian latitude and half arc of visibility of the sun 
or of that star, and simply reads off the time since ris- 
ing of the sun or of the star. The table contains over 
250,000 entries and survives in a unique manuscript 
probably copied by Nadjm al-Din himself. 

Another region of the Islamic world in which the 
writings of al-Marrakushi and the output of the early 

Cairo muwakkits were influential was the Yemen. 
Under the Rasulids [q.v.], mathematical astronomy 
was practiced and patronised. In particular, the 
Sultan al-Ashraf (1295-6) compiled a treatise on 
instrumentation inspired by that of al-Marrakushi. 
The Yemeni astronomer Abu 'l-'UkQl, who worked 
for the Sultan al-Mu 5 ayyad in Ta c izz, compiled a 
corpus of tables for timekeeping by day and night 
which is the largest such corpus compiled by any 
Muslim astronomer, containing over 100,000 entries. 

In Cairo in the 8th/14th century there were several 
muwakkits producing works of scientific merit but the 
major scene of Him al-mikat was Syria. The Aleppo 
astronomer Ibn al-Sarradj, who is known to have 
visited Egypt, devised a series of special quadrants 
and universal astrolabes and trigonometric grids; his 
works represent the culmination of the Islamic 
achievement in astronomical instrumentation. 

Two other major Syrian astronomers, al-Mizzi and 
Ibn al-Shatir, studied astronomy in Egypt under Ibn 
al-Akfanl [q.v.] and others. Al-Mizzi returned to 
Syria and compiled a set of hour-angle tables and 
prayer-tables for Damascus modelled after the Cairo 
corpus. Ibn al-Shatir compiled some prayer-tables for 
an unspecified locality with latitude 34° (the new 
Mamluk city of Tripoli?). Al-Mizzi also compiled 
but Ibn al-Sha ' 

j theo 

devised a new series of models which represent the 
culmination of the Islamic endeavour in this field [see 
c ilm al-hay'a). This notwithstanding, he also devised 
the most splendid sundial known from the Islamic 
Middle Ages, the fragments of which are preserved in 
the garden of the Archaeological Museum in 
Damascus; a replica made in the late 19th century by 
the last Syrian muwakkit of any reknown, al-Tantawi, 
is still in situ on the main minaret of the Umayyad 

It was a colleague of al-Mizzi and Ibn al-Shatir 
named Shams al-DIn al-Khalili who made the most 
significant advances in Htm al-mikat. Al-Khalili recom- 
puted the tables of al-Mizzi for the new parameters 
(local altitude and obliquity of the ecliptic [see mayl]) 
derived by Ibn al-Shatir. His corpus of tables for 
timekeeping by the sun {i.e. functions t(h,X) and 
1\h,\)) and for regulating the times of prayer for 
Damascus was used there until the 13th/19th century: 
see PI. XI, 5. In addition, he compiled some tables of 
auxiliary trigonometric functions for solving all of the 
standard problems of spherical astronomy for any 
latitude. The functions tabulated are: 
J[ffi) = R Sin 9 / Cos cp, 
g(f,B) = Sin 9 Tan cp / R, and 
K(x,y) = arc Cos (Rx/y), 
where the trigonometric functions are to base R = 60. 
Values are given to two sexagesimal digits and are 
invariably computed accurately. Using these tables, 
the hour-angle can be found with a minimum of 
calculation. Al-Khalili describes a procedure equiva- 
lent to: 

((M,9) = a:{[/MW(<p,8)], 8 J 

which is mathematically equivalent to the modern for- 
mula noted above. Al-Khalili also compiled a table 
displaying the kibla or local direction of Mecca as a 
function of terrestrial longitude and latitude [see 
kibla]. These tables represent the culmination of the 
Muslim achievement in the computation of tables for 

Some of the activities of the Damascus school 
became known in Tunis in the 8th-9th/14th-15th cen- 
turies. Extensive auxiliary tables and prayer tables for 
the latitude of Tunis were compiled there by 

Prayer-tables were also prepared for various latitudes 
in the Maghrib. 

More significant was the influence of the Cairo and 
Damascus schools on the development of Htm al-mikat 
in Ottoman Turkey. Cairene and Damascene 
astronomers of the 8th/ 14th century had already 
prepared sets of prayer-tables for the latitude of Istan- 
bul, as well as for Jerusalem, Mecca, and Aleppo, but 
several new sets of tables were prepared by Ottoman 
astronomers for Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey 
after the model of the corpora for Cairo and 
Damascus. Prayer-tables for Istanbul are contained in 
the very popular almanac [see ruznama] of the 
9th/15th Sufi Shaykh Wefa 5 (see PI. IX, 2), and in the 
less widely distributed almanac of the 10th/16th cen- 
tury scholar Darendeli. These remained in use until 
the 19th century. 

Large sets of tables for timekeeping by the sun 
and/or stars were prepared for Istanbul and for 
Edirne. One set for the sun was compiled by TakI '1- 
Din b. Ma c ruf {q.v. ], director of the short-lived Istan- 
bul Observatory in the late 10th/16th century. In the 
12th/18th century, the architect Salih Efendl pro- 
duced an enormous corpus of tables for timekeeping 
which was very popular amongst the muwakkits of 
Istanbul. A feature distinguishing some of these 
Ottoman tables from the earlier Egyptian and Syrian 
tables is that values of the time of day are based on the 
convention that sunset is 12 o'clock. This convention, 
inspired by the fact that the Islamic day begins at 
sunset (because the calendar is lunar and the months 
begin with the sighting of the crescent shortly after 
sunset), has the disadvantage that clocks registering 
"Turkish" time need to be adjusted by a few minutes 
each few days. Prayer-tables based on this convention 
were compiled all over the Ottoman Empire and 
beyond; examples have been found in the manuscript 
sources for localities as far apart as Algiers and 
Yarkand, and Crete and San c a>: see PI. XI, 6. 

In the 19th/20th centuries, the times of prayer were 
and are tabulated in annual almanacs, wall calendars 
and pocket diaries, and the times for each day are 
listed in newspapers. In Ramadan, special sets for the 
whole month are distributed. These are called 
imsdkiyyas and indicate in addition to the times of 
prayer, the time of the early morning meal (suhur) and 
the time before daybreak— called the imsak— when the 
fast should begin. Modern tables are usually prepared 
by the local survey department or observatory or some 
other agency approved by the religious authorities 
(see Fig. 3). Recently, electronic clocks and watches 
have appeared on the market which are programmed 
to beep at the prayer times for different localities, and 
to pronounce a recorded prayer-call [see aphan]. 

Bibliography: On the definition of the times 
of prayer as they appear in the astronomical 
sources, see E. Wiedemann and J. Frank, Die 
Gebetszeiten im Islam, in SBPMSE, lviii (1926), 1-32, 
repr. in E. Wiedemann, Aufsdtze zur arabischen 
Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Hildesheim 1970, ii, 757-88. 
For al-Birum's detailed discussion, see E.S. Ken- 
nedy, The Exhaustive Treatise on Shadows by ... al- 
Biruni: translation and commentary, Aleppo 1976, i, 
210-30, ii, 132-43, and idem el alii, Studies in the 
Islamic exact sciences, Beirut 1983, 299-310. On the 
formulae for timekeeping used by the Muslim 
astronomers, see the papers by M.-L. Davidian, N. 
Nadir and B.R. Goldstein repr. in Kennedy et alii, 
Studies, 274-96, and the studies listed below. On the 
detailed treatment of spherical astronomy by Ibn 
Yunus and al-Biruni, see, respectively, D.A. King, 


"r^ hs- Vh 


: t 






"'^H v-* 3 *- z* 

*r VJ > $l* „a 

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ur« JViJiU-* 

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> Jl,*» > 



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grr \ 

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Fig. 3. Extracts from some modern tables for regulating the times of prayer for different localities. The examples 
shown serve (a) Yemen; (b) Mecca (?); (c) Tunis; (d) Tashkent; (e) Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Erzerum; and 
(f) Nabulus (for Ramadan, 1396/1975). 


Spherical astronomy in medieval Islam: the Hakimi Zij of 
Ibn Yunus (forthcoming), and M.-Th. Debarnot, La 
trigonometric spherique chez les Arabes de I 'est a la fin du 
X' siecle, Damascus 1985. On al-Marrakushl and 
his treatise, and the rise of the institution of 
the muwakkil, see King, The astronomy of the 
Mamluks, in Isis, lxxiv (1983), 531-55, esp. 539-40 
and 534-5, repr. in idem, Islamic mathematical 
astronomy (hereafter IMA), London 1986, III. On 
the earliest known tables for regulating the 
prayer times and reckoning time of day from 
solar altitude, see King, Al-Khwarizmi and new trends 
in mathematical astronomy in the ninth century, in Occa- 
sional Papers on the Near East (New York University, 
Hagop Kervorkian Center for Near Eastern 
Studies), ii (1983), 7-11. On the corpora of tables 
for Cairo, TaSzz, Damascus and Jerusalem, Tunis 
and Istanbul, see respectively, King, Ibn Yunus' 
Very Useful Tables for reckoning time by the sun, in 
Archive for history of exact sciences, x (1973), 342-94, 
repr. in idem, IMA, IX; Mathematical astronomy in 
medieval Yemen ..., Malibu, Calif. 1983, 31-2; 
Astronomical timekeeping in fourteenth-century Syria, in 
Procs. of the First International Symposium for the History 
of Arabic Science (Aleppo, 1976), ii, 75-84 and plates, 
repr. in idem, IMA, X; (with E.S. Kennedy) Indian 
astronomy in fourteenth-century Fez ..., in Journal for the 
History of Arabic Science, vi (1982), 3-45, repr. in 
idem, IMA, VIII, esp. 8-9; and Astronomical 
timekeeping in Ottoman Turkey, in Procs. of the Interna- 
tional Symposium on the Observatories in Islam (Istanbul, 
1977), 245-69, repr. in idem, IMA, XII. Three 
sets of auxiliary tables are analysed in R.A.K. 
Irani, The Jadwal al-taqwim of Habash al-Hasib, 
unpubl. Master's diss., American University of 
Beirut 1956; C. Jensen, Abu Nasr's approach to 
spherical astronomy as developed in his treatise The Table 
of Minutes, in Centaurus, xvi (1972), 1-19; and 
King, Al-Khallli's auxiliary tables for solving problems of 
spherical astronomy, in Journal for the History of 
Astronomy, iv (1973), 99-110, repr. in idem, IMA, 
XI. See further King, Studies in astronomical 
timekeeping in Islam, I. A survey of tables for reckoning 
time by the sun and stars; II. A survey of tables for 
regulating the times of prayer; III. A survey of shadow 
schemes for simple time-reckoning; IV. On the origin of the 
prayers in Islam; and V. On the role of the Muezzin and 
the Muwaqqit in medieval Islamic society (forthcoming, 
I-II with Springer-Verlag, New York, III-IV in 
Oriens). On the Ottoman convention of reckon- 
ingsunsetas 1 2 o'clock, see J. Wurschmidt, Die 
Zeitrechnung im Osmanischen Reich, in Deutsche optische 
Wochenschrift (1917), 88-100. On the muwakkit- 
khdnas, the buildings adjacent to the major Ottoman 
mosques which were used by the muwakkits, see 
A.S. Unver, Osmanh Tiirklerinde ilim tarihinde muvak- 
kithaneler, in Ataturk konferenslan , v (1975), 217-57. 
See also the Bibl. to mizwala. (D.A. King) 

al-MIKDAD B. C AMR b. Tha'laba al-BahrA>i, 
a well-known Companion of the Prophet. He is 
attested in all the available historical sources, which 
more or less concur that his father c Amr fled to the 
Kinda [q. v. ] tribe after he had become involved in a 
blood feud in his own tribe of Bahra 3 [q.v.], a group 
of Kuda c a. There, in Kinda, al-Mikdad was born ca. 
585 A.D. Then al-Mikdad, in his turn, had to flee 
Kinda after he had wounded a fellow-tribesman in the 
foot. He made good his escape to Mecca. Having 
been adopted by al-Aswad b. c Abd Yaghuth al-Zuhrl, 
he became a haltf (confederate) of the Banu Zuhra. It 
is reported that he used to be called al-Mikdad b. al- 
Aswad until Kur>an, XXXIII, 5, declaring adoption 

in Islam illegal, was revealed, whereupon he once 

He is listed among the first seven persons who openly 
professed Islam (al-Dhahabi, Siyar, i, 251), but, 
initially, the mushrikun may have forced him to recant. 
Then al-Mikdad participated in the emigration to 
Abyssinia (the second wave, cf. Watt, Mecca, 11 If.), 
from where he returned just before the hidjra to 
accompany Muhammad to Medina (contrary to what 
is implied in Watt, Medina, 3). As part of the mu>dkhdt 
[q.v.] or "brothering" measures, Muhammad paired 
him with Djabr b. c AtIk (Ibn Habib, Muhabbar, 73), 
but we also find Djabbar b. Sakhr (Ibn Sa<d, iii/2, 

During a raid under the leadership of c Ubayda b. 
al-Harith in the year 1/623, al-Mikdad and another 
man sought to curry favour with the Meccans, but 
their intentions seem to have been thwarted and they 
had to fall back on the Muslims. Then al-Mikdad is 
recorded as having fought at Badr, where he was the 
only one, or one of the very few, who rode his own 
horse. He is said to have participated in all the other 
campaigns launched during the Prophet's lifetime. 
Al-Mikdad was one of Muhammad's archers. On 
subsequent raids he was given several commands, e.g. 
at Uhud he was the commander of the main body of 
the army together with Hamza b. c Abd al-Muttalib 
[q.v.], and at the Ghazwat al-Ghaba he commanded 
the cavalry. When a delegation of his South Arabian 
tribe came to Medina, they were lodged by him (Ibn 
Sa c d, i/2, 66). 

After the Prophet's death, al-Mikdad is listed 
among those who took part in the conquest of Syria 
and his name is mentioned particularly in connection 
with Hims. The people of Hims used to rely on al- 
Mikdad's Kur'an recitation (cf. Ibn al-Athir, iii, 86), 
a report rejected by Bergstrasser (G. des Q. , iii, 172), 
but which could conceivably be read in connection 
with his having been appointed as the official Kur'an 
reciter of the army fighting in Syria in the year 13/634 
(cf. al-Tabarl, i, 2059). Then the sources depict al- 
Mikdad as the commander of a force of one thousand 
men sent by 'Umar in aid of c Amr b. al- c As, who 
dispatched him to Dimyat. Al-Mikdad conquered it. 
It is also alleged that he was present at a raid into 
Ifrfkiya. He supposedly was one of eighty people who 
helped in establishing the kibla in the mosque said to 

His last military activities seem to have been displayed 
during a raid on Cyprus in 28/649 under Mu c awiya. 

After 'Ulnar's assassination, al-Mikdad is said to 
have actively been engaged in the organisation of the 
shura [q.v.], the electoral body which was to determine 
c Umar's successor. Al-Mikdad is recorded as having 
been a staunch adherent of C A1T, so much so in fact 
that this earned him the esteem of the later Imamiyya 
[q.v.], who declared him to be one of the few Compan- 
ions who had not become unbelievers when c Uthman, 
and not C A1I, received the nomination. 

Al-Mikdad seems to have become a man of 
affluence. Not only is it reported that he acquired 
some possessions at Khaybar at one time, but he also 

had a 

niles o 

Medina at a place called al-Djuruf. Here he died, 
possibly as the result of an unsuccessful medical 
operation performed by a Byzantine servant of his 
who had sought to rid his master of his obesity. 
According to another account he died after drinking 
a potion made of the castor-oil plant. As seems to have 
been the custom with other people who died in al- 
Djuruf (e.g. Usama b. Zayd, cf. Ibn Sa c d, iv/1, 51), 
his body is said to have been carried to Medina, where 

1. Al-Kh w arazmi's prayer-tables for latitude 33° (Baghdad). For each 6° of solar longitude the lengths of the 
shadow of a gnomon of length 12 units are tabulated for the beginning of the zuhr and for the beginning and 
end of the W. Note that some entries are written in Hindu-Arabic numerals [see hisab] and others in the more 
usual alpha-numerical system [see abdjad]. Taken from Ms Berlin Ahlwardt 5793 (Landberg 56), fol. 94-a, with 
kind permission of the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, PreuGischer Kulturbesitz, Orientabteilung. 

Uj ^J^l£i^iU^tJr?J^^teu>\ 

2. An extract from some anonymous prayer-tables for an unspecified latitude (about 40°). The function 
tabulated is the ascendant at ten different times of the day and night, and values are given for each 6° of solar 
longitude. The times served are dusk (mughib al-shafak) and daybreak (al-fadjr al-sadik and al-fadjr al-kadhib) and 
the seven moments which divide the length of daylight into eight equal parts. The table is evidence of a survival 
of the early tradition of associating the duhd and the c asr with the seasonal hours. Taken from Ms Cambridge 
U.L. O.l, fol. 179a, with kind permission of Cambridge University Library. 


3. An extract from the corpus of tables used for timekeeping in mediaeval Cairo. These tables display the time 
since sunrise (al-da ir), the hour-angle (fadl al-daHt) and the solar azimuth (al-samt) as a function of solar altitude 
(here 15 ) and each degree of solar longitude (al- c adad). Time is reckoned in equatorial degrees (1° - 4 minutes 
since 360° - 24 hours). Taken from Ms Cairo Dar al-Kutub mikat 690, fols. 15b-16a, with kind permission 
of the Egyptian National Library. 

..' ^ .- JJ 1 t^ f J» 



1 c.iiru^ . 




- ^-> — ->■ *]& b,* j* -> - 

,^j ; U >;^>;P; s&.ss'^F.. ^ 

U L 

the tables in the Cairo corpus displaying the times since 

extinguish the lamps on the minarets during Ramadan 

the prescribed 
•Mkat 954,2, fols. 3b-4a, with 

5 An extract from al-KhalllT's corpus of tables for Damascus showing sc 
of prayer. Values are displayed for each degree of solar l°ng'^ de (*' 

Aquarius). Taken from Ms Par " """ '"'" "^ '" 


. 2558, fols. lOb-lla, 

: 12 functions for regulating the times 
xtract serves the first few degrees of 
dnd permission of the Bibliotheque 





~ >* : < 




| ■ } 

^ ^ ■ 


.J * 

6 An extract from some Ottoman prayer-tables for the latitude of Algiers. For each day of each month (here 
February) the times of the ^M(here called sa&k), the V and the imsik are tabulated. The times are «P™ 8 «a 
in hours and minutes and are reckoned according to the Ottoman convention that sunset 1S 2 o clock. Taken 
from Ms Cairo Tal'at/a/a* turkt9, fol. 41a, with kind permission of the Egyptian National Library. 


c Uthman performed the funeral salat for him. This 
was in 33/653-4, when al-Mikdad was allegedly some 
70 (lunar) years old (Ibn Sa c d, iii/1, 115). 

Al-Mikdad is supposed to have transmitted a few 
traditions from the Prophet. An analysis of the isnads 

be regarded as fictitious, the majority of these isnads 
showing up "common links" who may be held 
responsible for the mains attached to these isnads. Thus 
al-Mikdad is said to have lost a hand in the fighting 
at Badr, a report which, after analysis, is most likely 
due to Ibn Shihab al-Zuhrl (cf. al-Bukhari, diydt 
l=ed. Krehl-Juynboll, iv, 314 f., and al-MizzI, 
Tuhfat al-ashrdf viii, no. 1 1547); then there is the story 
mpted by the Devil 

of hist 

aining of c; 



i 174, 


11546). Perhaps the best-known report featuring al- 
Mikdad is the one in which he maintains that 
sycophants deserve no more than having earth thrown 
in their faces (apparently a severe humiliation, cf. Ibn 
Sa c d, ii/1, 93). This report seems to have later been 
raised to the level of a Prophetic hadith at the hands of 
Sufyan al-Thawri [q.v.\, imitated by Shu c ba b. al- 
Hadjdjadj [q.v.]. 

Bibliography: DhahabT, Siyar, index; Ibn 
Hadjar, Tahdhib, x, 285 ff.; idem, Isdba, vi, 202ff.; 
Wakidl, Maghazi, index; Baladhuri, Futuh, index; 
idem, Ansdb al-ashrdf. i, index; Ibn Sa c d, Tabakat, 
index; Ibn Hisham, Sira, index; Tabari, index; Ibn 
al-Athir, index; Madjd al-DTn al-Mubarak b. 
Muhammad Ibn al-Athir, al-Nihdya fi gharib al- 
hadith wa 'l-athar, index; Fasawl, K. al-maWifa wa 7- 
ta'rikh, iii, 368; Ibn c Abd al-Hakam, Futuh Misr, 
index; Ibn Kutayba, Ma c dnf index; Khalifa b. 
Khayyat, Tahikh, index; Makdisi, K. al-Bad' wa 7- 
ta^rikh, v, 132 of the French text; Mas c udl, Murudj_, 
ed. Pellat, §§ 1582. 1599; Nawawl, Tahdhib al- 
asma\ ed. Wiistenfeld, 576; MakrTzi, KhUat, Bulak, 
i, 213, 289, 295, ii, 247; Ibn c Abd Rabbihi, Hkd, 
index; MizzI, Tuhfat al-ashrdf, viii, nos. 11542-51; 
al-Mikdad's musnad in Ibn Hanbal's Musnad is in 
vol_, vi, 2-6, and 8. __ (G.H.A. Juynboll) 
MlKHA'IL al-SABBAGH. Arab scholar and 
litterateur. He was born ca. 1775 (thus ace. to 
Shaykhu, in Mashrik, viii [1905], 29) in Acre, 
Palestine, into a Melkite family, and died in 1816 in 
Paris. His grandfather was Ibrahim al-Sabbagh, the 
personal physician and steward of Zahir al- c Umar, 
ruler of c Akka (so Shaykhu, op. at., 27), and also his 
secretary and minister (so al-Khuri Kustantin al- 
Basha al-MukhallisJ in his introduction to M. al- 
Sabbagh, Ta\ikh al-Shaykh Zahir al-^Umar al-Zaydani 

MikhaM spent his early years in Damascus, from 
where he and his family fled to Egypt, and he then 
pursued his studies there. He returned to Syria in 
1792, but had to leave again in 1794. The French 
invasion of Egypt in 1798 offered him new oppor- 
tunities. He served General Reynier as secretary, and 
accompanied him to France in 1801. Mikhail al- 
Sabbagh found employment there as a compositor 
and corrector of oriental languages at the State Prin- 
ting House until the government elected him to 
become one of the secretaries of the Royal Library 
(Bibliotheque du Roi), charged with the preservation 
and restoration of Oriental manuscripts. In this latter 
function, he copied some 60 mss., among them Abu 
Tammam's Hamasa and the Makamdt of al'-Harlri. He 
was praised for his work by orientalists like A.I. 
Sylvestre de Sacy, L.M. Langles, H.G.L. 
Kosegarten, C.F. von Schnurrer and J. Humbert. 
Mfkha'il al-Sabbagh 's own writings consist of a 

one exception, have remained in manu 
essay on poetry, a number of poems in honour of 
Pope Pius VII, in honour of Napoleon on the occasion 
of his marriage, and again on the occasion of the birth 
of the King of Rome, and one congratulating Louis 
XVIII. All were translated into French and published 
in booklets containing both versions. There is also a 
study of the Arabic vernaculars, published by H. 
Thorbecke in 1886. 

Mikha'Tl al-Sabbagh's works comprise: 1. Kitdb 

Musdbakat al-bark wa 'l-ghamdm fi su c at al-hamam, tr. 

iilvestre de Sacy, Paris 1805, as La colombe, messagere 
plus rapide que V eclair, plus prompte que la nue. Other 
translations mentioned by Shaykhu (op. cit. , 30) and 
by Graf (GCAL, iii, 250) are an Italian one by A. Cat- 
, Milan 1822, and a German one by Lorsbach, 

by G. Loper, Strassburg 1879. 2. Ta'rikh al-shaykh 
Zahir al- c Umar al-Zaydani hakim c Akka wa-bildd Safad 
'■uniya bi-nashrihi wa-taHik hawdshthi al-Khuri Kustantin 
al-Bdshd al-MukhallisT, Harisa [ca. 1928]. In this, 
Mlkha'il al-Sabbagh describes the rise and fall of 
Shaykh Zahir al- c Umar, whom MrkhaTl's grand- 
father had served as a physician; this concern 
r the traditional pattern used for annals" 
(f . Philipp, in IJMES, xvi [1984], 161-75, esp. 168). 
"In his unpublished history of Ibrahim as-Sabba gh 
and his family, Mikha'il did not even try to uphold 
the form of annals" (he at.). The manuscript of the 
TaMkh is in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Munich 
(Cod. Arab. 901). The same collection also comprises 
:tions by Mlkha'il al-Sabbagh (Munich, 
Cod. Arab. 899) as well as the manuscript of his 
ory oj the Melkites" (Mukhtasar ta'nkh ta'ifat 
1-KathulTk) (Shaykhu, op. at, 31 ff.j. Al- 


Ishak A 

a (Mas! 

Ta'rikh KabaHl ahl al-badiy 
"History of Bedouin tribes"), and TaYikh al-Shdr 
.>a-Mur("History of Syria and Egypt"). 3. His Risdl 

aldm al-ddndx (Munich, cod. Arab. 880, 644-80) wa 
mblished by H. Thorbecke under the title MihPi 
•abbdg 's Grammatik der arabischen Umgangssprache i: 
lyrien und Aegypten, Strassburg 1886. The autho 
writes that he had to rely on actual speech only, writ 
en documentation on the subject being non-existen 
nd the field until then unexplored. The first chapte 
leals with the Arab language as it was "before am 
mmediately after Islam", the beginning of its corrup 

,f the ] 

;ion of al 

s. Then follow chaptei 
tractions, on pronour 
;s. The ninth chapter 


many corrections, additions and deletions, written in 
a scrawling, barely legible hand (pp. III-X). 4. The 
Kitdb f, 'l-Shi'r wa-fi 'l-arud wa-mulhakdtihi ka 'l-zafgal 

its metres, is mentioned by Freytag in his Darstellung 
der arabischen Verskunst, 458-61. Freytag writes that this 
study is of little value and unreliable in detail, but 
interesting since it describes poetical forms such as the 
mawwdl, the zadj_al and the kdn wa-kdn. 5. The Nashid 

has been translated into French by Silvestre de Sacy 
as CantiqueaS.M. Napoleon le grand, empereur des Francais 
el roid'Italie, a I 'occasion de la naissance de sonfils Napoleon 
II, Roi de Rome. Allegoric sur le bonheur futur de la France 

Encyclopaedia of Isle 



et la paix de I'univers, Paris, Imprimerie imperiale, 
1811; and the Nashtd tahdni li-sa'-ddat al-kulli al-diydna 
LiPis al-thdmin c ashar malik Faransd wa Ndwdr by 
Grangeret de Lagrange, as Cantique de felicitation a sa 
M. tres-chretienne Louis le Desire, Roi de France et de 
Navarre, Paris 1814. Humbert, Anthologie arabe, 293, 
mentions three more poems: Hommage au Grand-juge 
Ministre de la justice, visitant I 'Imprimerie de la republique, 
1803; Vers a la louange du Souverain Pontife Pie VII, 1805; 
and Vers a I 'occasion du mariage de Napoleon, 1810. 

Bibliography: G.W. Freytag, Darstellung der 
arabischen Verskunst, repr. Osnabruck 1968, 458-61; 
J. Humbert, Anthologie arabe, Paris 1819, 174-8, 
291-3; H.G.L. Kosegarten, Carminum orientalium 
triga, Stralsund, 34 ff., 41; L.M. Langles, Voyages de 
Sind-Badle Marin, Paris, 1814, p. xxiii; Th. Philipp, 
Class, community and Arab historiography in the early 
nineteenth century. The dawn of a new era, in IJMES, xvi 
(1984), 161-75; C.F. von Schnurrer, Bibliotheca 
arabica, Halle 1811, 491; A.I. Silvestre de Sacy, 
Chrestomathie arabe, iii, Paris, 1806, 349, 362, 363, 
519; H. Thorbecke, MihdHl Sabbdg's Grammatik der 
arabischen Umgangssprache in Syrien und Aegyplen, 
Strassburg 1886, pp. iii-x; L. Shaykhu, MikhdV al- 
Sabbdgh wa-usraluhu, in Mashrik, viii (1905), 24-34; 
idem, al-Addb al- c arabiyya fi 'l-karn al-tasi'- ^ashar, in 
ibid. (1907), 469-73; idem, al-Addb al-Hrabiyya fi 'l- 
karn al-tasi c ^ashar. Al-djuz> al-awwal, Beirut 1924, 
15, 22-3, 34-5; Al-KhGrl Ishak Armala, al- 
Malakiyydn, in Mashrik, xxxiv (1936), 381. 

_ . (C. N.JLAND) 

MIKHAL-OGHLU, an old Ottoman noble 

This family traced its descent to the feudal lord 
Kose Mikhal c Abd Allah, originally a Greek (cf. F.-A. 
Geuffroy, in Ch. Schefer, Petit traicte de I'origine des 
Turcqz par Th. Spandouyn Cantacasin, Paris 1696, 267: 
L'ung desdictz Grecz esloil nomme Michaeli ... Dudict 
Michali sonl descenduz les Michalogli), who appears in the 
reign of c Othman I as lord of Chirmenkia (Khirmen- 
djik) at the foot of Mount Olympus near Edrenos, and 
later as an ally of the first Ottoman ruler earned great 
merit for his share in aiding the latter's expansion (cf. 
J. von Hammer, in GOR, i, 48, 57, following Idrls 
Bidllsland Neshrl). Converted to Islam, K6se Mikhal 
appears again in the reign of c Othman's son Orkhan. 
The rank of commander of the akindjis [q.v.] became 
hereditary in the family of Kose Mikhal. which is even 
said to have been related to the royal house of Savoy 
and of France (cf. Paolo Giovio, Michalogli di sangue 
Turcheco e per via di donna si fa parente del Duca di Savoia 
e del Re di Francia; in this case Mikhal [Mi X orflX], alias 
Kose Mikhal. must have been descended from the 
Palaeologi; cf. GOR, i, 572), and along with the 
Malkoc-oghlu (properly Malkovic, i.e. Markovic), 
the Ewrenos-oghlu [q.v.], TImurtash-oghlu [q.v.] and 
Turakhan-oghlu [q.v.], was among the most 
celebrated of the noble familes of the early Ottoman 
empire. Kose Mikhal, called c Abd Allah, died in 
Edirne and was buried in the mosque founded there 
by him in the western Yfldirim quarter. As Edirne 
was certainly not conquered till 763/1362 (see F. Bab- 
inger, in MOG, ii, 31 1), he must therefore have lived 
into the reign of Murad I and had a remarkably long 

Kose Mikhal had two sons, namely Mehmed Beg 
and Yakhshi (Bakhshi?), of whom only the former 
acquired some renown. He was vizier under Musa 
Celebi and a close friend of Shaykji Badr al-Dln of 
Simaw [q. v. ] . Under Musa he was Beglerbeg of Rumeli, 
and died in 825/1422 at Isnlk at the hand of the judge 
Tadj al-Dln-oghlu and is said to have been buried at 

Plevna in Bulgaria (cf. Ewliya Celebi, Seydhat-ndme, 
"i, 305), after being previously (8 16/1 4 ^detained as 
state prisoner in the prison of Bedewl Cardak near 
Tokat. His son was Khidr Beg, who distinguished 
himself in the wars of Murad lis reign. He died in 
870/1465 and was buried at Edirne beside his ancestor 
Kose Mikhal. Khidr Beg seems to have had three 
sons, namely GhazI C A1I Beg, GhazI Iskandar Beg and 
GhazI Bali Beg, of whom only the first two are of any 
historical importance. GhazI C A1I Beg in 865/1461 dis- 
tinguished himself in the battle against Vlad (see 
GOR, ii, 64), in 878/1473 ravaged the lands of Uzun 
Hasan (ibid., ii, 118), invaded Hungary in 880/1475 

(ibid. , 

, 144) v 


r Beg, 

11/1476 (ibid, ii, 156) was in command of the 
akindjis before Scutari in Albania, and appears once 
again in Transylvania (ibid., ii, 172); but in the next 
13 years nothing is heard of him. In 897/1492 he 
seems to have met his death at Villach in Carinthia, 
defeated by Count Khevenhuller, although other 
sources mention him at a still later date. According to 
them, he died in Plevna. His brother Iskandar Beg in 
881/1476 commanded the light cavalry at the siege of 
Scutari, as sandjak beg of Bosnia (880/1475, 885/1480 
and 890/1485, GOR, ii, 156); and in 895/1490 in the 
Karaman campaign, in which he lost his son, the 
governor of Kaysariyye Mikhal Beg (see GOR, ii, 
300), who was taken prisoner and sent to Egypt. He 
seems to have lived till 903/1498. The military 
exploits of GhazI C A1I Beg were celebrated by Suzl 
Celebi (d. 930/1534 at Prizren; cf. Babinger, GOW, 
34-5) in a long epic (said to have been 15,000 
couplets), fragments of which have recently been 
discovered (one in Berlin, ms. Or., no. 1468 contain- 
ing 1,700 bayls and the other in Zagreb, South Slav 
Academy of Sciences, Coll. Babinger, no. 535, i, with 
212 bayts). In some sources, a Mehmed Beg, who was 
distinguishing himself at that time, is described as a 
fourth son of GhazI Khidr Beg; in others, however, he 
appears as the son of GhazI C A1I Beg, which is not at 
all probable if he really was twice governor of Bosnia, 
namely as early as 897/1492 and again in 949/1542, 
and did not die till 950/1543. 

The family of the Mlkhal-oghlu now begins to fall 
into the background. About the middle of the 
10th/16th century, an Ahmad Beg is again men- 
tioned, perhaps as the last of the Mlkhal-o gh lu 
holding the hereditary office in the family of leader of 
a body of akindjis (see GOR, iii, 293); and lastly, a 
Khidr Pasha is mentioned in a history as a descendant 
of Kose Mikhal (see GOR, iv, 512). The family at a 
later date had estates in Bulgaria (around Ihtiman, cf. 
Ewliya Celebi, iii, 390, and C. Jirecek, Das Fiirsten- 
thum Bulganen, Vienna 1891, 138, and at Filibe, 
Ewliya Celebi, iii, 379-80) and survived down to 
modern times. As we learn, however, from the Sal- 
ndme of Edirne for 1309, 82 ff., the Mlkhal-oghlus had 
already at an early date large estates around Edirne. 
They had the country round Bufiar-Hisar, Tirnovo, 
Kirk Killse and WIze as a hereditary fief. The 
Anatolian district of Mlkhalidj (MixariXiifri, Mix- 
aXixiou in Chalkondyles, 225; Ewliya Celebi, v. 293-4; 
W. Tomaschek, Zur historischen Topographic von Kleina- 
sien im Mittelalter, in SBAK. Wien, Phil-hist. CI., cxxiv 
[Vienna 1891], 95 and J. H. Mordtmann, in ZDMG, 
lxv [1911], 101) seems to be connected with the family 
of the Mlkhal-oghlu. Ewliya, ioc. cit. , further men- 
tions estates and awkdf of the family in the Amasya 

Bibliography: The well-known histories of von 
Hammer, Zinkeisen and Jorga. Under the title 
Ahwdl-i Ghdzi Mikhdl (Istanbul 1315; cf. Babinger, 


GOW, 35, n. 1), Nuzhet Mehmed Pasha published 
a work glorifying Kose Mikhal and his descendants. 
See also 1A art. Mihal-Ogullan (M. Tayyib 
Gokbilgin), with a detailed genealogical tree. 

(Fr. Babinger) 
MIKHLAF (a., pi. makhalif), a term of 
mediaeval Islamic administrative geography 
used particularly in Yemen. The sources usually state 
that it is the equivalent of Arabic kura 
[q.v.]" administrative province" (Nashwan _ al- 
Himyari, Die auf Sudarabien bezuglichen Angaben im Sams 
al- c ulum, Leiden-London 1916, 34) or Persian rustak 
\q.v.} "rural area" (al-KhaM b. Ahmad, cited by 
Yakut, Bulddn, Beirut 1374-6/1955-7, i, 37, tr. Wadie 
Jwaideh, The introductory chapters of Yaqut's Mu^jam al- 
buldin, Leiden 1959, 56-7), with a fanciful explana- 
tion that the progeny of Kahtan, the Yemen, 
remained behind (takhallafa) in the region of that 
name, hence the district of each tribe was called its 
mikhldf. The term may be tenuously related to Sabaic 
■ of a town", cf. Conti Rossini, 



1931, 136. Al-Ya c kubT states in his K. al-Buldan, 317- 
19, tr. 156-8, that Yemen comprises 84 makhalif, with 
a list, and in his Ta\ikh, i, 227-9, gives a further one; 
however, the total number of names amounts to only 
74, and some of these are tribal and not geographical 

From the period of Ayyubid rule in Yemen 
onwards, the term gradually falls out of use there and 
is no longer used at the present time, although Ibn al- 
Mudjawir (early 6th/13th century) defined it in his 
Ta\ikh al-Mustabsir (ed. O. LSfgren, Leiden 1954, n, 
170) as having the restricted sense of the settled and 

arger c 


a fortr 

*s well as 


inly used in the moun 

and not in the coastal Tihama. 

Bibliography: Given in the 

MIKINDANI (in Swahili, "tl 

ieighbour of Mtwara. 
It lies near the Tanza 

:, and noted that the 


:r with Mozambi- 
que. The nearby coast is thick with mangrove planta- 
tions, whose wood is the principal attraction today lor 
Arab dhow traffic from c Uman and the Gulf The 
Swahili traditional history Asili ya Mikindam ("The 
origin of Mikindani") states that it began as a centre 
for the slave and gum copal trades, in exchange for 
grain and cloth, for which Sayyid Barghash of Zan- 
zibar (1870-88) established a customs post. Before this 
there was a resident local "sultan"— in Swahili the 

f need n. 


Arab descent, but intermarried with the Makon 
tribe, with the result that the descent and succession 
of the ruler was reckoned matrilineally. Alexander 
Dalrymple, hydrographer to the East India Com- 
pany, mentions the sultanic residence on a chart dated 
1796. Lt. Thomas Boteler, who visited Mikindani in 
H.M.S. Barracouta in 1824, says that the place con- 
sisted of three "neat and extensive villages" inhabited 
by Arabs. On a nearby hill there were the remains of 
a fort, which he ascribes to the Portuguese, albeit Por- 
tuguese records do not record one here. Rather, it 
may have been an Arab slave barracoon, of which no 
trace now remains. Livingstone began his last journey 
from here in 1866. Boteler's villages had now become 
six. Livingstone hired a house in Pemba village which 
still exists; it had ninety houses and a ruined mosque 
of coral and lime. There was another Arab stone ruin 

on the other side of the bay. He formed a poor opinion 
of the local Arabs: "The Arabs here are a wretched lot 
physically, thin, washed-out creatures — many with 
bleared eyes ... They are low coast Arabs, three- 
quarters African, and, as usual, possess the bad with- 
out the good qualities of both parents. Many of them 
came and begged brandy, and laughed when they 
remarked that they could drink it in secret, but not 
openly." A report by a naval officer in 1874 mentions 
three villages only. By then there was a prosperous 
trade in wild rubber, gum copal, millet, rice, ivory 
and, surreptitiously, in slaves. 

Bibliography: Sir J.M. Gray, Mikindani Bay 
before 1887, in Tanganyika Notes and Records, no. 28 
(1950), 29-37; D. Livingstone, Last journey, i, 15, 
17; Asili ya Mikindani, in C. Velten, Prosa und Poesie 
der Suaheli, Berlin 1907. 273-8. 

(G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville) 
MIKNAS and Miknas al-Zaytun, French form 

f Moi 

which is 

if the 

tier (long. 5° 32' W., 
lat. 33° 53' N.; average altitude 1,700 feet/520 m.), 
situated 80 miles/130 km. to the east of Rabat and 40 
miles/60 km. to the south-west of Fas. 

It occupies the centre of the transitional zone which 
lies between the Middle Atlas, 30 miles/50 km to the 
south, and the Sebu. It commands the exit towards 
the Gharb of the depression which separates the 
massif of the Zarhun from the plateau of al-Hadjib. At 
Meknes intersect the roads from Rabat to Fas, from 
Tafllalt through the land of the Bern Mglld and Azru, 
from Marrakush through the Tadla. 

The temperature rarely exceeds 30° C. or falls 
below 5° The rainfall is remarkably equal from one 
year to the other The excellent water supply of the 
plain of Meknes and the quality of its light soil, resting 
on a subsoil of permeable limestone, make it one of 
the best agricultural districts of Morocco. 

The population in 1902 was estimated at 20,000, of 


i,000 v 


jnsiderably during the Protectorate (175,900 
inhabitants in 1960). 

Meknes is built on the flank of a mountain spur. 
Beyond the ravine dug out by the WadI BQ Fekran, 
the modern town has been built. The houses of the 
mdina, often substantial, are always very simple. 
There are only fifteen or so houses of an artistic 
interest They date for the most part from the reigns 
of the sultans Muhammad b. c Abd al-Rahman and 
Mawlay al-Hasan The suks, which lie between the 
Madrasa Bu c Inaniyya and the Djami c al-Nadjdjann 
(suks of the jewellers, carpenters and curiosity shops), 
have no remarkable features except the covered 
kaysanyya [q v ], the booths of which were ornamented 
with shutters of painted wood. The nullah [q.v.\ of 
Meknes is to the south of the mdina. A new mellah, 
three times the extent of the old one, has been 
occupied since 1925. The mdina of Meknes is one of 
those which have retained their local character most 
unaffected Only one artery, the Rouamzin 
(<rwabztyyin "bellows-makers") street, is accessible 
to European trade and traffic. The centre of the 
town's activity is the Hedfm square. To the south-east 
lie the vast ruins of the kasba of Mawlay Isma c il. They 
now reveal nothing but chaos and disorder, but sur- 
round the Djinan Ben Halima, a charming garden, 
and the Dar al-Bayda 3 which is now a school for 
Moroccan officers. The Dar al-Makhzen is sometimes 
used as a royal residence. Begun at the end of the 17th 
century, this palace was built in several periods. The 
Bab Dar al-Makhzen dates from 1889. In the old 
Agdal of Mawlay Isma'il, among waste lands, an 

ostrich farm, the origin of which goes back to Mawlay 
c Abd Allah, has been laid out, beside an experimental 
garden. Farther on there is a horse-breeding establish- 
ment. The visitor goes along miles of massive walls 
and finds enormous ruins: the Herl '1-Mansur (used 
as a stable and storehouse for forage), the stables, the 
granary and the ornamental waterbasin left to go to 

There is very little industry in Meknes: only 
carpentry and particularly weaving, already noted by 
al-IdrlsT. The most notable artistic industries are the 
many coloured embroideries of large irregular point 
lace and painted wood. The public services endeavour 
to keep these trades going, in which purely Berber 
influence is marked. European competition is severely 
affecting, at Meknes as elsewhere, some classes of 
artisans, like the tailors, smiths and potters. The 
building trades, on the other hand, are flourishing. 
Suks are held outside the town and are attended by the 
country people: the Suk of Bab Jdid, before the gate 
on which the heads of rebels used to be placed for the 
edification of the tribes, the Suk al-Khamis and that 
of the Lanterns. The market of Meknes does not 
extend beyond the environs of the town; it exports 
nothing except in years of abundant harvest. The 
region was already famed in the last century for its 
fruits, its vines, its gardens and its vegetables. The 
mills, four or five of which are still working, date from 
the same period. During the French occupation, col- 
onisation developed considerably. The colonists, most 
of whom came from Algeria, cultivated mainly wheat, 
of which they obtained increasing yields. The cultiva- 
tion of the vine is increasing each year. 

The government of Meknes, which is a makhzaniyya 
town, was in the hands of a bdshd. He was also bdshd 
of the Bwakher, who till 1912 provided the garrison of 
the town (800 men according to Le Chatelier). In the 

Meknes was made the capital of a very considerable 

The population of Meknes consists of many distinct 
elements: Shorfa 3 , Bwakher. Berbers and Jews. The 
Idrisid Shorfa . who have played their part in the 
history of the town and retain privileges (of the 
numerous descendants of Mawlay Idris, only the 
families residing in Fas and Meknes are allowed to 
share in the income of the zdwiya of Fas), and the 
Hasani Shorfa', who have many privileges of their 
own, form a kind of aristocracy, generally penurious. 
The Bwakher, descendants of the <abid al-Bukhari, a 
black guard of Mawlay Isma c rl, up till 1912 formed an 
unreliable element, which was always a nucleus of 
trouble. Since that date they have been taking up the 
trades of mat-makers and farriers. They lived close to 
the town of old kasbas and gardens which belong to the 
Makhzen, and in the old kasha of Mawlay Isma c rl in 
the Bab Mrah quarter. Their houses, roofed with 
thatch, looked like African encampments. But it is the 
Berber (Briber) element which predominated at 
Meknes and gave it its desire for independence, a 
feature of which has for centuries been a jealousy of 
Fas. It is the Berbers of the mountains who gave it its 
tone; when they come down to the town, their women 
give colour to the streets of the mdina with their short 
skirts, their leather gaiters and their wide-brimmed 
hats. The Berber elements of the plain are much more 
mixed, having undergone many vicissitudes since the 
day when Mawlay Muhammad b. c Abd Allah 
inaugurated the policy, considerably practised by his 
successors, of transferring tribes. A considerable part 
of the population of Meknes consists of transient 

work as artisans. These immigrants almost all come 
from the south, from Tafflalt in particular (potters, 
tanners and porters), from Sus (grocers), from Tuwat 
(oil-makers), from Figig and Dar c a (masons). The 
Rifans and Jbala supply most of the agricultural 
labourers. A small number of Fasls, who have in 
recent years merged into the population of the town, 
are cloth-merchants, dealers in old clothes and shoe- 

Jews formed a quarter of the native population. 
Pere Ch. de Foucauld estimated the mellah of Meknes 
to be half that of Fas. Chenier remarked on its pros- 

Religious life. From the presence of the Idrisid 
and Hasanid ShorfP, the proximity of the sanctuary of 
Mawlay Idris and the religious event of the celebra- 
tions of his musem (class, mawsim [g.v.]) every year, 
Meknes is one of the most important centres of 
Shanfism. At the same time, for the Berber popula- 

tary kind. All the brotherhoods that have zdwiyas in 
Morocco are represented in Meknes. The most 
important are those of the Kadiriyya, TTdjaniyya, and 
especially Hmadsha [see hamadisha in Suppl.] and 
the largest, the c Isawa, to which half the population 
are attached. Meknes, whose patron saint is SIdl 
Muhammad b. c Isa and which contains his tomb 
under the kubba erected by Mawlay Muhammad b. 
c Abd Allah, is the centre of the order. This saint came 
here at the end of the 9th/15th century. His teaching 
at first met with a vigorous resistance, which he over- 
came so completely that, when the governor of the 
town sought to take steps against him, the people pro- 
tected him. Before his death he acquired an estate, 
constituted in hubus, and men of religion are buried 
there. The celebration of his musem on the first day of 
the mulud (mawlid [q.v.]) festival is the great event of 
the year. The preparations for it begin forty days 
before. On the day before or on the preceding day of 
' " .m all p 


., follow 

g the traditional n 

i. The n 

hospitality is given to the pilgrims by the 
descendants of Shaykh al-Kamil, who have the nikdba 
(Brunei). The excesses committed on the occasion of 
ths pilgrimage have been frequently described. Many 
other special cults are observed in Meknes, including 
that of a contemporary holy man, Mawlay Ahmad 

and to sit by the highway, he was in 1917 granted 
clothes and a kubba at the request of Mawlay Yusuf. 
The kubba is at the entrance to a dispensary, and the 
admirers of the saint came there daily to keep him 

History. We know nothing certain about the 
history of the region in the Roman period nor in the 
centuries which followed. The most advanced Roman 
stations were on the slopes of the Zarhun guarding the 
plain, out of which the warriors of the Central Atlas 
might debouch, and perhaps throwing out a screen as 
far as the plateau of al-Hadjib. 

We do not know at what date the people here had 
their first contact with Islam, nor even if it was not till 
the Hilali invasion that Islam became securely estab- 
lished here. The Berber tribes of the Sa'is and Sebu 
made the most of the fertility of their country. A tradi- 
tion records that a fire destroyed the gardens there in 
305/917. It was at this period that the country was 
covered, from Taza to Meknes, by the migration of a 
Zenata tribe, the Miknasa, a section of whom, who 
received the name of Miknasa al-Zaytun to 
distinguish them from the Miknasa Taza, who lived 
father to the east, established themselves securely in 

the plain. The Idrisids met with a vigorous resistance 
from the Miknasa. They always found in them 
opponents whom they could not overcome in spite of 
several campaigns, and who were the instigators of 
Umayyad intervention. 

At this date, a few villages stood on the site of 
Meknes. One cannot say at what date, perhaps in the 
4th/10th century, they were grouped together to form 
the Takrart (Tagrart) mentioned by al-Idrisi (Opus 
geogr., iii, 244, 245). The population seems to have 
been more numerous in the Almoravid period than 
later, and prosperous. Enclosed by a wall, Meknes 
looked like a pleasure resort, with its gardens, 
cultivated fields, its mosques, its baths and water 

The Miknasa vigorously opposed the Almohad 
onslaught. When passing through this region in 
514/1120-1, Ibn Tumart [q.v.\ preached here but he 
was not well received. Twenty years later, c Abd al- 

took it. He left it to enter Fas,' leaving the conduct of 
the siege in the hands of Yahya b. Yaghmur. The 
Kirtas says the siege lasted seven years. The town fell 
in 545/1150. It was plundered, the defences 
dismantled, a part of its wealth confiscated and all its 
garrison put to death, except the governor, who is said 
to have escaped. On the site, or beside the ruins, 
Meknes rapidly rose again under the shelter of the for- 
tifications built by the Almohads. At the end of the 
century, it had regained some importance and the 
mosque of al-Nadjdjarin was finished. This is the 
oldest monument in Meknes: in 1170/1756-7 
Muhammad b. c Abd Allah had it restored and built 
the present minaret. The Almohads brought water 
hither from Tadjenna, five miles away. In 578/1182 
the khutba was said in five different places in Meknes 
and there were six gates in the wall which surrounded 
the town. 

In the course of the following century, the intrigues 
of the Marlnids [q.v.] disturbed the country, where 
the fighting that accompanied the fall of the Almohads 
was particularly lively. In 629/1231-2, al-Ma 5 mun 
had to intervene against the Banu Fazaz and Meklata, 
who were ravaging Meknes. In 634/1236-7, as a result 
of the Marinid success in the battle in which al-Sa c rd's 
son was slain, Abu Bakr entered the town. This 
occupation was only temporary, but the Almohad 
restoration was not secure. In 643/1245-6, the gover- 
nor left there by al-Sa c id was slain in a rising in the 
town in favour of the Hafsid Abu Zakariyya 3 . Al- 
Sa c Td again returned victorious, causing Yahya b. 
c Abd al-Hakk to fly to Taza. The Marinid had only 
after the death of the Almohad 


, he i 



The first period of greatness for Meknes dates from 
the Marlnids. They set out to make it beautiful like 
Rabat and Fas. Abu Yusuf moved from Fas Jdld to 
Meknes, which owed to him a kasba and a mosque 
(675/1276). Abu '1-Hasan improved its water supply, 
built bridges on the road to Fas and began the Madrasa 
Djadida which Abu c Inan was to finish. It bears the lat- 
ter's name and is still the most notable building in 
Meknes, in spite of the indiscreet restorations carried 
out in 1917-22. Other madrasas, the c Attarin and 
Filala, were built by the Marlnids. 

During this period the political organi 

The Idrlsid Shorfa 3 , 

ing in qui 
ving a 

a different dirt 

to end in the partition of Morocco in the last years of 
the 9th/15th century into practically independent divi- 
sions. The Shorfa' were numerous in Meknes. When 
the weakening of the Marlnids and the decline of their 
prestige made it possible, the Shorfa' supplied 
leaders. History has preserved the name of Mawlay 
Zayyan. The Wattasids only intervened, it appears, 
when at the beginning of the 10th/16th century 
Mas c ud b. al-Nasir, havingvebelled against Muham- 
mad al-Burtukall, found an asylum at Meknes. The 
Sultan besieged the town and took it, then installed his 
brother al-Nasir al-Kiddld there, who however did 
not prove faithful to him. The few years of 
independence enjoyed by Meknes were not particu- 
larly glorious. They mark, however, an epoch in the 
history of the town destined at other periods to be only 
the prey of anarchy or the plaything of a tyrant. 

The rise of the brotherhoods of the 9th/ 15th century 
found a favourable soil among the Miknasa. The 
zdwiya of the Djazuliyya was established there, as in 
other places in Morocco. A few years later, Muham- 
mad b. c Isa was teaching there. 

Meknes was thus well prepared to welcome the 
Sa c dids [q.v.]. When Mahammad al-Shaykh 
approached in 955/1548 he entered the town without 
much trouble. The Marinid al-Nasir al-Kasrl is said 
to have agreed to hand over the town in return for the 
liberty of his father Ahmad Bu Zekri, and the 
marabouts to have demanded the conclusion of such 
an agreement. Mahammad al-Shaykh however took a 
sufficiently sure method to establish his authority; 
when the khatib Abu '1-Hasan c Ali b. Harzuz began to 
preach against him, he had him scourged to death. 
When he returned two years later, he was welcomed 
with gifts. The estimates of travellers of this time put 
the population of the town at 6-8,000 hearths. It was 
the only town in the region. The Sa c dids took little 
interest in Meknes, which never attracted their atten- 
tion. The country was well in hand and the Berber 
tribes peaceful to such a degree that the road from 
Marrakush by the Tadla was regularly used. It was 
the practice to make Meknes the residence of one of 
the sons of the Sultan. There was, however, no impor- 
tant command attached to it. Leo Africanus credits it 
with a revenue equal to half that of the viceroyalty of 
Fas, which is astonishing. Under Ahmad al-Mansur, 
Abu '1-Hasan c Ali lived there and then after the 
second partition, Zaydan and, lastly Mawlay al- 



Mansur placed Meknes at the mercy of the Berber ris- 
ings and marabout intrigues. In the midst of this 
disorder an authority gradually made itself felt, that of 
the zdwiyas, and especially the Zawiya of Dila° [q.v. in 
Supply In 1023/1640-1, Muhammad al-Hadjdj was 
even able to seize the sovereign power and get himself 
recognised by Fas and Meknes after his victory over 
Mawlay Mahammad al-Shaykh b. Zaydan. He won 
over the Berber tribes, and Mawlay al-Rashld in 
1076/1666 found the Ban! Mtir against him, allied 
with the Dila'T Abu c Abd Allah, and he had to fight 
them again in 1076/1668. 

Mawlay al-RashTd seems to have been interested in 
Meknes, the kasba of which he restored. In burying 
him in the mausoleum of al-Madjdhub [q.v.], Mawlay 
fulfilling the last wishes of the 

deceased. But the i 
Rashid sent Mawlay Isn 

this. He wished it to be in his own image and realised 
his desire. For fifty years, Meknes was simply the 
framework for his splendour, the scene of his 

He at once decided to build himself a palace, and 
a grandiose scheme was projected. He began by clear- 
ing a space. The houses adjoining the Almohad wall 
east of the town were destroyed and their owners 
forced to carry the debris off to a site which has 
retained the name of Hedfm, then to rebuild on a site 
which the Many enclosed by a wall to the north-west of 
the mdina. The site which he chose for himself was also 
separate from the town. His palace was built, and 
another one even more splendid for his women. This 
first edifice, Dar Kblra, was finished in 1090/1679. It 
was a series, without intelligible plan, of riyaifs 
embellished with fountains, paved with marble, sur- 
rounded by galleries which were supported by col- 
umns of marble; the apartments opened on to three 

that of his ladies in four and larger than his. His four 
wives and his favourites were equally splendidly 
housed. The other concubines, of whom he had 500 
of all nations, were housed in rooms along the 
passage. At the end was a common hall, on a higher 
level, which gave a view over the gardens through 
iron grilles. The reception pavilions were planned on 
the same scale; one of them had forty rooms. The 
palace contained in all 45 pavilions and twenty kubbas. 
The whole was surrounded by a crenelated wall, 
pierced by twenty gates. It was triple in the north-east 
with a road round it and it could be defended equally 
well against the interior of the kasba. The ' 

f guns 

i. The « 

being subject to rigorous confinement and Mawlay 
Isma c Il being very meticulous in the performance of 
the duties of religion, a mosque was set aside for 
them. Another had been begun in 1083/1672, com- 
municating with the town by the Bab c Isa. Lastly, the 
palace with its dependencies contained four mosques; 
two are still in use, the Djami c al-Akhdar and in the 
quarter of the mews, very broken down, the Djami c 
al-Ruwa. To the south was a garden, the area of 
which is equal to that of the present mdina, an orchard 
in which olive trees predominated. Farther on were 
the stables to which the sultan admitted only picked 
horses, to the number of 1,200: two parallel rows of 
arcades about 100 feet apart. In the centre ran run- 
ning water. Each animal had its stall and a shelter for 
its equipment. Opposite was a storehouse, the heri, 
which supported a supplementary palace with twenty 
pavilions. Between the palace and the stables was the 
granary, forty feet high and big enough, it was said, 
to contain the whole harvest of Morocco. At the side 
was a pond for irrigation purposes and also subterra- 

The buildings did not stop here. To the south-west 
of the town lay a city of pleasure, Madinat al-Riyad, 
where the officials had palaces, where Mawlay Isma'fl 
himself had his mosque, his madrasa, his hammam, his 
funduks and the offices of the umana} of the Treasury, 
with the shops of the Shanfian tailors. In 1 145/1732-3 
Mawlay c Abd Allah on returning from an unsuc- 
cessful expedition into the Sus, had the Madinat al- 
Riyad destroyed by Christian slaves. There is nothing 
left of it to-day except the Bab al-Khamis, dated 
1078/1667, one of the finest and best proportioned 
gates in the city. 

Lastly, a site was reserved for the troops. To the 
west of Meknes a large duwwdr was settled with c Abid 
and their families. To the east of the Dar al-Makhzen. 
five kashas for the 130,000 men of the gish were 
gradually incorporated in the great kasba. 

After fifty years of unorganised but superhuman 
effort, the buildings were not yet completed. It was in 
1 144/1731-2 that Mawlay c Abd Allah finished the sur- 
rounding wall and the Bab Mansur, the most finished 
example of the Isma'ilian gateway, ponderous, of pro- 
portions by no means perfect but imposing, of which 
the Bab al-Barda'In and the Bab al-Nuwwar are the 
two other finest examples at Meknes at the present 
day. Mawlay Isma c il directed all the operations 
himself. During the first twenty-four years of his 
reign, he never spent twelve months on end at 
Meknes. But he returned there after each expedition; 
in proportion as his ambition and his power 
increased, his despotism and the needs of his govern- 
ment, his army and his family grew, his scheme 
became more and more grandiose; the work done was 
found unsatisfactory, modifications were made, 
buildings taken down and the work began all over 
again. The result certainly was sumptuous and impos- 
ing but also odd and varied. 

All the country helped in the work. Mawlay Isma c Tl 
collected materials wherever he could. Volubilis, 
Chella and Marrakush were plundered. If he 
destroyed al-BadrS it was perhaps out of jealousy of 
Sa c did work, or perhaps simply to get material. Like 
Ahmad al-Mansur, he procured marble from Pisa. 
One day when a corsair ship had become stranded 
near Tangier, he ordered the Ghumara to bring the 
cannon from it by unaided manual labour. When he 
died the columns of marble which were still on their 
way were left at the roadside. 

Labour was recruited by a similar means. The 
Sultan imposed days of labour on the tribes, levied 
forced labour as he pleased, sent his ministers to the 
workshops, but relied mainly on renegades and Chris- 
tian slaves who were his permanent workmen. From 
1091/1680 the work was pushed on frantically. All the 
Christians in Morocco were collected there and were 

building-yards, then they were moved to the Dar al- 
Makhzen, then to near the stables, under the arches 
of a bridge, where their lot was particularly miserable, 
finally to lodgings built from mud brick along the 
north wall of the Dar al-Makhzen. They were able to 
organise themselves a little there, to build themselves 

A pharmacist monk made up a medicine, the "Chris- 
tian decoction"; this was the means by which humane 
relations were established with the local people, even 
with the dwellers in the palace. Their latest historian 
has reduced the number of Christian prisoners in the 
service of Mawlay Isma'il to its real figure: they did 
not as a rule reach a thousand, and the Sultan, in the 
course of over fifty years, himself killed only one hun- 
dred and nine (Koehler). 

The Sultan revealed in his palaces his extravagance 
and his cupidity; he accumulated wealth as he did 
buildings, but not only to hide it. The consuls and 
ambassadors, who came to negotiate the ransom of 
captives, he received with a mixture of buffoonery and 
splendour. Frequent mention is made of the cruelty 
and the terror which this ruler inspired; he loved to 
torture his wives and cut off heads to show his skill. 
His amusements were of a similar character; he liked 
to shoot with his kdHds at the deer in his menageries 
then to finish them off with spear thrusts. "Let us 
avert our eyes from all these horrors which make 
nature shudder," says Chenier. 

Mawlay Isma c il was buried like his brother in the 
mausoleum of SIdi c Abd al-Rahman al-Madjdhub, 
His sons, the rebel Mawlay Muhammad, killed at 
Tarudant in 1118/1706, and Mawlay Zaydan in 
1191/707, had already joined Mawlay Rashjd. In 


1859 the ashes of Mawlay c Abd al-Rahman were also 

On the death of Mawlay Isma c Il, the Bwakher and 
the soldiers of the gish stirred up a palace war which 
lasted twenty years. Mawlay c Abd Allah lost and 
regained his throne six times. The civil war extended 
to the tribes of the plain and the garrisons of Fas, 
especially in the Udaya; pretenders stirred up the 
flames, readily giving the signal to plunder and, in the 
rivalries of races and tribes, easily finding a party to 
support them. Gradually the Bwakher sank into 
misfortune. It was in vain that Mawlay c Abd Allah 
and his sons expended the treasure of Mawlay Isma'Il 
for them. The worst of it for Meknes was that every 
one ended or began by plundering it. 

Muhammad b. c Abd Allah almost re-established 
order and restored to the town its past glory. He did 
a great deal for it; his palace of Dar al-Bayda', the 
severe architecture of which, not without charm, can 
still be seen in a part of the olive grove of al- 
Hamriyya; in the kasha, he built the portal of the 
Djami c al-Anwar and in the mdina, the minaret of the 
Djami 11 al-Badjdjarln, the kubba of STdT Muhammad b. 
c Isa, and several mosques (al-Azhar, al-Barda c Tn, Bab 
Mrah, Berrima and Sidl Bu c Uthman). It was he who 
made the 12,000 books of the library of Mawlay 
Isrna'H hubus for the benefit of all the mosques of 
Morocco. As regards the tribes, his policy was to 

tried several repressive measures. The end of his reign 
was marked by the success of the Berbers, whose 
attacks had been resumed about 1189/1775. 

Soon nothing was left of the work of Mawlay 
Isma c Tl. The Christian community lost its Franciscan 
mission in the reign of Mawlay Yazld and did not sur- 
vive the persecution of this sharif The earthquake of 
1168/1755 had destroyed their church, convent and 
hospice. The renegades, who had gathered together at 
Kasba Aguray, were gradually absorbed. 

The Berber crisis was again acute from 1811. Com- 
munication with Fas was continually being cut and it 
was something to boast about for the sultan to go out 
of Meknes. Mawlay Sllman (Sulayman), who had 
undertaken to restore the kasba and rebuild the bridges 
on the road to Fas and who would have liked to get rid 
of the Bwakher. decided to settle in Fas. Mawlay c Abd 
al-Rahman, whom Delacroix saw there and who built 
a kubba in Jnan Ben Hallma, left the Berbers in semi- 
independence and at last disbanded the c abid without 
even granting those who remained in Meknes the 
character of Makhzen troops. His son carefully 
avoided all quarrels. 

Mawlay al-Hasan revived the tradition of the great 
sultans and made his authority felt. He was able to 
enter Meknes after his accession only by crushing the 
power of the tribes. In 1879 he conducted a campaign 
against the Bern Mtir. In 1887 he forced his way 
through the country of the Ben! Mgild in his cam- 
paign towards the Nun. On his death, the Berbers 
regained their independence. After the fall of Mawlay 
c Abd al- c Aziz, Meknes recognised all the competitors 
in succession. It was Meknes that proclaimed c Abd al- 
Hafiz, who had come via the Berbers of Tadla in 
1908; in 1909 it summoned the sharif al-Kattanl; and 
in 1911 rallied to Mawlay Zayn. It was in this year 
that General Moinier entered Meknes. 

Bibliography: In addition to the references in 
the article mawlay isma'Tl: a. Arabic sources: 
editions and translations of Bakri, Ibn Abi Zar c , 
Ibn al-Athir, Idrisi, and of the Kitab al-lstibsar; 
Houdas, Monographic de Miquinez, mJA (1885); Leo 
Africanus, Description de I Afrique, tr. Epaulard, 175- 

7 and index; al-Kablr b. Zaydan, Histoire de Meknes 
(Ithaf a c ldm al-nas bi-akhbar hadirat Miknds), Rabat 
1929. b. European sources: Marmol Caravajal, 
Description general de Africa, 1573; Mouette, Relation 
de la captivite du Sieur Mouette, 1683; Mission historial 
deMarruecos, escr. por Fr. de San Juan de el Puerto, 
1708; John Windus, A journey to Mequinez, 1725; 
Busnot, Histoire du regne de Mouley Ismail, 1731; Har- 
ingman, Tagebuch einer Reise nach Marokko, 1805; 
Castries and Cenival, Sources inedites de I'histoire du 
Maroc; Champion, Tanger, Fes, Meknes, 1924 (gives 
the French tr. of the passage of Windus relating to 
the kasba of Meknes); Perigny, Au Maroc. 
Casablanca, Rabat, Meknes, 1919; Cenival, La mission 
franciscaine du Maroc, 1927; H. Koehler, La penetra- 
tion chretienne au Maroc. La mission franciscaine, 1914; 
idem, Bref apercu sur quelques traits d'histoire ayant trait 
aux captifs chretiens de Meknes, in Rev. de ge'ogr. maroc. 
(1921); idem, Quelques points d'histoire sur les captifs 
Chretiens de Meknes, in Hespins (1928); G. Marcais, 
Manuel d'art musulman, 1926-7; Saladin, Les partes de 
Meknes d'apres les documents envoyes par M. Le Captaine 
Emonet, and La grande mosquee de Meknes. . . , in Bull, 
archeol. du Com. des Travaux Hist. (1916, 1917); P. 
Ricard, Pour comprendre I' art musulman en Afrique du 
Nord et en Espagne, 1924 (gives a plan of the Dar al- 
Makhzen); Ch. de Foucauld, Reconnaissance au 
Maroc, 1888; Segonzac, Voyages au Maroc, 1903; L. 
Massignon, Le Maroc dans les premieres anne'es du 
XVI™ siecle Tableau d'apres Leon VAfricain, 1906; 
idem, Enquete sur les corporations musulmans d' artisans 
et de commercants au Maroc, 1925; Le Chatelier, Notes 
sur les villes et tribus du Maroc en 1890, 1902; Brunei, 
confrerie religieuse des <Aissaoud au Maroc, 



, in RHR (1917); Lens, Derrie, 


ques des 

\rnaud, Monographic de la 
region de Meknes, 1914; Beauge and Joleaud, Etude 
tectonique de la region de Meknes, in Bull. Soc. ge'ol. de 
France (1922); Memorial du Service geographique de 
I'Armee. Description geometrique du Maroc. Parallele de 
Meknes, 1926; Guide Bleus, Maroc 8 , 285-99; see fur- 

Miknas 1988 and Bibliographic de Meknes, Meknes 

1988 (full bibl.). (C. Funck-Brentano) 

MIKYAS (a.), measurement, means of measuring, 

any simple measuring instrument; in Egypt the 

le of the Nilometer, i.e. the gauge in which the 

>f the ri 

n be n 


Originally the rising of the Nile was measured by 
the gauge (al-rasdsa). According to Ibn c Abd al- 
Hakam, al-Kuda'i, and others, Joseph, the son of 
Jacob, built the first Nilometer at Memphis; at a later 
date, the "aged Daluka" built Nilometers in Akhmim 
and Ansina (Antinoe). These were the Nilometers in 
use throughout the Hellenistic period till the conquest 
of Egypt by c Amr b. al- c As. The latter erected a 
Nilometer at Assuan and a second at Dendera. Others 
were built in the reigns of Mu'awiya and al-Walid b. 
c Abd al-Malik. Finally, the caliph al-Mutawakkil had 
a large Nilometer built on the island of Rawda at 
Fustat on the site of a Nilometer built in the reign of 
al-Walid, which had subsequently been swept away 
by floods. This Nilometer, which still exists, was com- 
pleted in 247/861-2 by Muhammad al-Hasib accord- 
ing to the inscription around the top of the pit. Ibn 
Abi Usaybi c a (i, 207-8) says that the construction was 
supervised by Ahmad b. Kathlr al-FarghanT but 
speaks disparagingly of his technical ability, so it may 
well be that al-FarghanT acted simply as the caliph's 
representative and had little to do with the actual con- 


struction of the instrument. When it was complete, al- 
Mutawakkil appointed Abu '1-Raddad to look after it, 
and the office remained hereditary in his family down 
to the time of al-Makrlzf, who died in 846/1442 
(Khitat, Bulak, 1270, i, 57 ff.). 

The Nilometer was surveyed and described by 
K.A.C. Creswell (A short account of early Muslim architec- 
ture, Harmondsworth 1958, 292-6, with a diagram at 
p. 293). It consits of a tall graduated octagonal col- 

a stone-lined pit, roughly 6.20 metres square, with a 
staircase running down to the bottom. Below this is a 
cylindrical section with steps cut into its masonry 
walls. The four sides of the square pit are relieved by 
recesses, each covered by a pointed arch vault resting 
on a pair of engaged colonettes with clock-formed 
capitals and bases. This type of arch was, of course, 
an essential part of Gothic architecture, but the arches 
in the Nilometer are three centuries older than any 
Gothic example. The measuring column is a tall 
octagonal shaft measured into 16 cubits, averaging 
54.05 cm, by transverse lines, and the ten uppermost 
are each subdivided into 24 "fingers" by 24 divisions, 
grouped four by four alternately on either side of a 
vertical line. Creswell then mentions that the column 
has been broken in two places: "(1) in the twelfth 
cubit, the length of which has been reduced, between 
1798 and 1853, to 22.5 cm (9 in.), and (2) at the junc- 
tion of the 16th and 17th (sic), the length of the cubits 
remaining unchanged." The column rests on a 
pedestal 83 cm square and 1.17 metres in height and 
this rests on a millstone 1.50 metres in diameter and 
32 cm thick. The length of the column before it was 
broken, including these supports, was 19 cubits. The 
millstone rests on a floor of wooden planking sup- 
ported by four heavy timber beams. Connection to 
the Nile is made by three tunnels, all opening into the 
east side. 

Descriptions by Arab writers agree essentially with 
the foregoing details given by Creswell, except for the 
length of the column. According to Ibn Djubayr (ed. 
Wright-de Goeje, 54-5), this was 22 cubits; a water- 
level of 17 cubits was most beneficial for agriculture 
but up to 19 was acceptable; the sultan was entitled to 
levy kharadi if the level reached 16 cubits and the 
actual amount of tax levied depended upon the 
measured level above that point. Al-Idrfsl, writing 
perhaps three decades earlier than Ibn Djubayr, has 
much the same information, including the fact that 
the sultan could levy kharadi once the level had reached 
16 cubits. If the level exceeded 20 cubits it was 
detrimental because trees were uprooted and houses 
ruined, while a maximum level below 12 means a year 
of drought and sterility (ed. Dozy-de Goeje, Arabic, 
144, French tr. 173). There is therefore an indication 
that the column was longer in the 6th/ 12th century 
than it is today. 

Al-Mukaddasi (206) gives little information about 
the construction of the Nilometer, saying simply that 
it was a pit in the centre of which was a long column 
divided into cubits and fingers. He tells us something, 
however, about the importance of the device to the 
people of the Nile Delta. When the water started to 
rise, the supervisor reported daily to the sultan the 
ached by the water on the measuring column. 

No public 

made . 

il the 

reached 12 cubits. Thereafter 
rounds every day, announcing "Allah increased the 
blessed Nile today by such-and-such an amount." 
The people rejoiced when the water level reached 16 
cubits, since they knew it would be a good year. 

Bibliography: In addition to references given in 

the I 

e the , 

o EP i 

: (J. Ruska). 

(J. Ruska-[D.R. Hil 
MILAD (a.). According to some Arabic lex- 
icographers, the meaning of this term is time of birth 
in contradistinction to mawlid, which may denote also 
"place of birth". The latter is the usual term for 
birthday, especially in connection with the birthday of 
the Prophet Muhammad and Muslim saints [see 
mawlid]; mildd denotes also Christmas. For other 
special meanings, cf. Dozy, Supplement, s.v. 
Bibliography: See the Arabic lexicons. 

(A.J. Wensinck) 
MILAHA (a.) "navigation, seamanship; 
seafaring". Like its English and French counter- 
parts, navigation, the Arabic term has both a narrower 
and a broader connotation. The former refers to the 
mariner's art of determining the ship's position, char- 
ting her course and assuring that her progress and 
ultimate arrival is performed efficiently and safely; the 
latter, to seafaring in general. The term is attested in 
its fa^al form, mallah, at least since the c Abbasid 
period (Lane, vii, 2733); it appears to go back to 
Akkadian and ultimately Sumerian (Chicago Akkadian 
dictionary, Letter M, Part 1, Chicago 1977, 149-52: 
Akk. ma/aAu"sailor, boatman"; R. Labat, Manuel 
d'epigraphie akkadienne 2 , Paris 1976, 93: ma "boat", 
ma.lah 4 ("boatman"), no doubt via Hebrew (mallah) 
and Aramaic. Association of the term with milh "salt 
[water]", already proposed by early Arabic lex- 
icographers (Lane, citing the Tahdhib of al-Azharl, the 
Sihah and the Ramus), as also by the Hebrew Bible 
commentators, would thus probably be a case of 
popular etymology. (S. Soucek) 

1. In the 

. The 

of the 

geopolitical position of the Arabs, with the Arabian 
peninsula being bounded by the Red Sea, the Indian 
Ocean and the Persian Gulf, they were not among the 
first seafaring nations of the Near East, like the 
inhabitants of Mesopotamia, the Egyptians and the 
Phoenicians, because most of their ports were not 
accessible for navigation in ancient times (G.F. 
Hourani, Arab seafaring, New York 1975, 5 ff.). 

In Mesopotamia, swimming floats or float- 
supported rafts were used on the Euphrates, as 
appears from Assyrian reliefs of the 4th millennium . 
The first Mesopotamian vessels were rivercraft, and 
even when the inflated skins were replaced by a line 
of pots the hulls were not constructed with any pre- 
erect inner structure, but instead they had a "back- 
bone" (a prominent keel plank) and "ribs" (inserted 
frames) (L. Casson, Ships and seamanship in the Ancient 
World, Princeton 1971, 27; and for the Islamic descen- 
dant of the inflated skin craft, see kelek). 

It seems that the Mesopotamian vessels in ancient 
times carried no sails and were only propelled by oars. 
They were used for carrying timber, etc., but depic- 
tions on Assyrian reliefs show that such vessels could 
also become warships and carry soldiers. 

The artistic evidence from Egypt is especially rich 
and offers ample light on the types of the Egyptian 
vessels of ancient times. Again, the shell-of-planks 
technique is used for the construction of ships. By the 
year 3100 B.C. a sail appears in an Egyptian drawing 
of a vessel, while a great number of drawings of Egyp- 
tian ships offer us detailed depictions of masts, oars, 
steering oars and spoon-shaped hulls (C. Lefebvre des 
Noettes, De la marine antique a la marine moderne, Paris 
1935, Pis. Ill ff.). The Egyptian depictions reveal that 

Egyptian vessels were used as cargo ships and war- 
ships as well. The vessels which the Egyptians used in 
the Red Sea were constructed on the River Nile, then 
dismantled and reassembled on the Red Sea (Abdel 
M.A.H. Sayed, New light on the recently-discovered port on 
the Red Sea Shore, in Chronique d'Egypte, lviii [1983], 
fasc. 115-16, 23). 

It is likely that ancient Egyptian vessels sailed 
coastwise to avoid the dangers of the open sea, and 
that the lengths of voyages were limited, going as far 
as Punt, i.e. Somaliland and Hadramawt, whence the 
Egyptians imported such products as ebony, myrrh, 
ivory, gold and wild animals (see Casson, The ancient 
manners, London 1960, 12-13). Vessels were also used 
for warfare in Egypt, as is shown by a relief of the 
Pharaoh Sahure's pyramid (ca. 2550 B.C.), depicting 
ships carrying troops. 


e Near 

lenicians. Phoenician ships appear 
already in a relief of the third millennium B.C. at the 
time of the Pharaoh Snefru, sailing to Egypt loaded 
with cedar trees, but their maritime strength reached 

the naval dominance of the Minoans and Greeks who 
had first dominated the Mediterranean. 

In contrast to Egyptian naval architecture, which 
was based on riverboats, the vessels of the Phoenicians 
were from the beginning intended for seafaring, being 
half-moon in shape with high stern, and with bows 
distinguished by a wide beam. Phoenician galleys 
were surmounted by broad square sails and were often 
two or three-banked. Phoenician ships were propelled 

Arabs. Already at the time of King Solomon, Hiram, 
the Phoenician king from Tyre, sent his sailors to 
serve Solomon's newly-established fleet in Ezion 
Geber. King Solomon's fleet, as stated in I Kings, ix, 
26-8, was manned by Phoenicians and sailed as far as 
Ophir, by which it is understood Oman and India. 

transported by the Phoenicians from India and South 
Arabia to Palestine (see V. Christides, L'enigme 
d'Ophir, in Revue BMique, lxxvii [1970], 240-7). 

After the 9th century B.C., the Greeks started tak- 
ing the upper hand in navigation in the Mediterra- 
nean, so that by the 5th century B.C., the Mediterra- 
nean had become a Greek lake and later a Roman 

Islamic Arabs played in navigation in this early period 
was marginal, but should not be ignored. Certain 
Arabs used float-supported rafts in the Red Sea and 

:t the entrance of the Gulf of c Akaba acquired great 
mportance, serving as a customs clearing-house for 
he ships which headed towards Ayla [q.v.], which 
developed into an important emporium in the 4th cen- 
tury A.D. 

chants, shipowners and seamen in the Red Sea traffic 
is explicitly attested in the Greek and Latin sources of 
the Hellenistic and Roman period. As pirates, some 
b tribes, living on the coastline of the Red Sea, 
forced the Romans to embark guards in their mer- 
it ships (Pliny, Natural History, vi, 173). But it was 
nly as sailing traders that they were known; 
Strabo reports that the Arabs of South Arabia used 
float-supported rafts (Bepu.omvot; 11X6101$) to sail across 
the Red Sea towards the African coast in order to 
trade with the African (Strabo, xvi, 4, 19). 

he best information about Arabian ports, trade 
seamen is found in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea, 

.ula, not far from the inland capital of the Himyarites, 
Zafar, and the nearby port of Okelis, were the most 

For the 6th century, two contemporary Byzantine 
sources give information on Arab seafaring. The first, 
the Martyriurn of Arethas (ed. Boissonade, in Anecdota 
Graeca, v, Paris 1833, 44-5), refers to Indian ships; 
since we know that Indian ships usually did not sail 
beyond the island of Ceylon or the Bab al-Mandab, 
we should probably understand by the term "Indian" 
"South Arabian" vessels. In the second source, the 

ports (see Christides, The Himyarite-Ethwpian war and 
the Ethiopian occupation of South Arabia in the Acts of 
Gregentius [ca. 530 A.D.}, in Annates d'Ethiopie, ix 
[1972], 115-46). 


i Gre< 


y referer 
. The n 

model should be traced to 
Mesopotamia — boats sewn together with fibre, whose 
flat bottom consisted of a single plank, developed for 
navigation on the Red Sea. 

In order to safeguard sea traffic, the Ptolemies had 
planted a number of coastal towns— or renewed and 
renamed old ports — on both sides of the upper part of 
the Red Sea: Clysma-Cleopatra, Arsinoe, Philothera, 
Myos Hormos, Berenice and Leuke Kome. 

Goods from the Orient were unloaded in Myos 
Hormos on the African coast, from where they were 
transmitted, via the river Nile, to Koptos (Strabo, 
780, 781), whilst Leuke Kome on the Arabian side of 
the Red Sea served as a port of discharge for these 
goods. With the advent of the Romans, Leuke Kome 
diminished in importance and the little island Iotabc 

minology found in the Kur'an and in the Arab lex- 
icographers is exigous, but betrays a triple influence, 
i.e. Persian, Indian and Graeco-Roman, on Arab 
navigation. Thus the word nakhudah "captain" comes 
from the Hindi nao and the Persian khuda (cf. S.S. 
Nadvi, Arab navigation, in IC, xv [1941], 437, and for 
the Kur'anic evidence, W. Barthold, Der Koran und das 
Meer, in ZDMG, lxxxiii [1929], 37-43). 

Sea traffic in the Red Sea from the 4th to the 
middle of the 7th centuries A. D. The period from 
the 4th to the middle of the 7th century A.D. marks 
the most intensive sea traffic in the Red Sea and its 
extension on the one hand towards the Indian Ocean 
and on the other — through Egypt and Syria — towards 
Constantinople. At this time, Persian ships 
dominated in this busy traffic; Byzantine ships held 
the second place in this traffic, while there was also 

d Ethioi 


The hagiographical works of the 5th and 6th cen- 
turies describe how the spices and aromatics from the 
Orient, along with Chinese silk, were sent to Tyre and 
Sidon and then forwarded to Constantinople via 
Rhodes and the coast of Asia Minor (see H. 
Magoulias, The lives of the saints as sources of data for the 
history of commerce in the Byzantine Empire in the Vllh and 
Vllth centuries, in KXripovouia, iii [1971 j, 303-30). This 
was the time of the florescence of Byzantine naviga- 
tion and its international sea trade, and Byzantine 
shipowners enjoyed great freedom and prestige, one 
never to be repeated in later times when strict state 

65), with commercial competition in this area among 

There was no direct confrontation between Byzan- 
tines and Persians at sea or on land, but the Persians 
tried to infiltrate Yemen in order to support the local 
pagans and the Jewish Himyarite rulers, while the 
Byzantines through their allies, the Christian Ethio- 
pians, strongly supported the Christian Himyarites. 
Justin I, taking profit from the upheaval in Yemen, 
allied with the most important powers in the southern 
part of the Red Sea on both sides of the coast: the 
Ethiopians and the Blemmyes, who extended in a 
loose confederation from c Aydhab [q.v.] as far as 
Ethiopia, hoping to use his Christian Himyarite allies 
in order to extend his power as far as Aden, transfor- 
ming the Red Sea into a Byzantine lake (see 
Christides, Ethnic movements in southern Egypt and 
northern Sudan: Blemmyes-Beja in late antique and early Arab 
Egypt until 707 AM.,, in listy Filologicke, ciii [1980], 


Unfortunately for 
reversed when the Persians occupied Yemen, and hi: 

persuade the Ethiopians to try to undertake the sailing 
to India in order to gain control of the silk trade with 
China and to exclude the Persian intermediaries. 

Thus in practice, Persian cargo ships dominated the 
navigation, sailing side-by-side with the Byzantine 
ships; the 6th-century author Cosmas Indicopleustes 
informs us that Byzantine ships dared to sail as far as 
Ceylon, where again they competed with the Persian 

d Greek 

ered ii 


s (N. 

Ahmad, The Arabs' knowledge of Ceylon, in IC, 
[1945], 224-5; B.J. Perera, The foreign trade and com- 
merce of ancient Ceylon , in Ceylon Historical Journal [1951],, 
110 ff.). During the time of Khusraw I (531-78) the 
Persians imposed their rule on Yemen and their ships 
based on the port of Aden, controlled the Bab al- 
Mandab, the entrance to the Red Sea, and nearly shut 
off the Byzantine route to the East (D. Whi 

i, Satanic, 

trade, in Irai 



II. I> 

vfES. Although 






pie reservo 


^igators, it did 


trol th 

d the Phoe 

rora the conquered 


ne Orient; 

a number of A 


living on the south 

ern coa 


Arabian penin 


who were experienced sailors and skilful ship caulkers. 

We know something of the nature of the ships sail- 
ing from the Phoenician shores in the period 
preceding Islam from e.g. the depiction of a Phoeni- 
cian cargo ship incised on the wall of a burial chamber 
in the catacombs of Beth-She>arim, between Haifa 
and Nazareth, dating between ca. the 2nd and 4th 
centuries A.D., in which this ship strongly resembles 
the late Roman vessels (see R.L. Bowen, A Roman 
merchantman from Israel, in The Manner's Mirror, xlviii/1 
[1962], 68-70); and the Phoenician tradition of the 
stern post ending in a horse's head was transmitted to 
Muslim naval architecture. 

However, the construction of Muslim merchant 

rab nav 

5 the ir 


i Gul 

ion of the s 
' from the 

Neptune, xii [1952], 196 f".). The average mediaeval 
Arab dhow had a length of about 75 feet with a 
displacement of about 100 tons. Modern Arab dhows 
can be as small as 1-10 tons (but) and as big as 100-200 
tons (bum) (M. Lesourd, Notes sur les nawakhid, 
namgateurs de la mer Rouge, in Bulletin del'Institut Francais 
d'Arch. Naul., xxxii, ser. B, no. 25/1-2 [1960], 352). 
The Umayyad period (661-750). After the 
most important Islamic conquests were accomplished 
in land warfare, the Umayyads eagerly undertook the 
development of the Islamic navy. The Umayyad 
period is characterised by efforts of the Arabs to con- 
struct warships; they realised that the consolidation of 
the rapidly acquired Islamic conquests and further 
expansion could not be achieved without a strong 
navy. But although there is ample information about 
the construction of ships and the recruitment of sailors 

o ships and about the e 

h had o 



icouragement of the sea 

in the Umayyad period, 
1 meticulously. Requisi- 
nt were addressed to the 

The dra 

forced to serve without pay, but received regular 
wages (H.I. Bell, Greek papyri in the British Museum. The 
Aphrodito Papyri, iv, London 1910, pp. xxxi ff.). The 
wages of the recruited crews were not, however, 
uniform. The marines who functioned as fighting 
men (|iax 01 ) received higher salaries than the sailors 

(u.woq-aprau) were paid higher salaries than the mawali 
(Muslims of non-Arab descent) (uauXoT?) (Bell, op. 
at.. Papyrus no. 2 1447). In addition, the bread which 
was prepared for the marines, as one Arabic papyrus 
states, was of better quality than that of the sailors 
(Christides, The conquest of Crete by the Arabs (ca. 824). 

Athens 1984, 54 ff.). During the Umayyad period, 
most of the skilful sailors of Egypt were Christians, 
while the marines were Muslims; but by the end of 
this period, the situation gradually changed. 

recruitment of sailors in Syria during the Umayyad 
period. Undoubtedly, a number of the inhabitants of 
the coastal towns were drafted into the Syrian fleets. 
There was, nevertheless, a considerable reshuffling of 
this population, famous from ancient times for its 
expertise in naval activities; Mu'awiya (41-60/661-80) 
n workers from Ba c labakk to 
of Tyre and Acre to be used 
for ship building, perhaps an indication of the 
diminishing number of the Christian, Phoenician, 
shipbuilding work 

my Per, 


; Musi 

After the conquest of Egypt, the Arabs 
continued the use of the Byzantines' dockyards [see 
dar al-sina c a] in Alexandria and Clysma in Egypt as 
well as those in Syrian, that of Clysma (Kulzum 
[q.v.]) being of particular importance. 

Trajan's canal, uniting Egyptian Babylon with 
Kulzum, had become silted up, but was cleaned and 
used before 23/644 for the corn fleet which now, 
instead of going to Constantinople, was diverted to 
Djar, the port of Medina, to feed the inhabitants of 
the holy cities. Later Jedda (Djudda [q.v.]), the port 
of Mecca used for the pilgrims, replaced Djar. On 
their way to Mecca, the pilgrims stopped in c Aydhab, 
the port controlled by the Sudanese people of the 
Bedja [q.v.]. Thus the corn trade and the pilgrimage 
traffic contributed to the sea traffic on both sides of the 

- part of the Red Sea, whilst at the same time, 
icense route to the ports in the southern pari 
rabian Gulf and the Indian ports was also ma 
1. The Greek papyri of Aphrodito, in additior 

10 doubt against the Red Sea pir; 
The port of Alexandria still ret 

Islamic period, though to a diminishing extent. Most 
of the Byzantines left Alexandria after its conquest by 
the Arabs, but a strong Jewish community, composed 
mainly of traders, remained there; moreover, the 
skilful Egyptian craftsmen continued the Byzantine 
tradition (see M. Rodziewicz, Graeco-hlamic elements at 
Kom el Dikka in the light of new discoveries, in Graeco- 
Arabica, i [1982], 44). The landmark of Hellenism, the 
Pharos (lighthouse) [see al-iskandariyya and 
manara], was partly preserved during the Umayyad 

author' Nasir-i Khusraw describes the torches which 
were lit at night and which led safely the ships to the 
port of Alexandria. It is not, therefore, surprising that 

of ships were constructed and repaired in Alexandria, 
and it was also from there that the most important 
Muslim sea raids originated. 

While Alexandria in the Islamic period lost ground 
as a great entrepot, the port of al-Farama acquired 
great prominence. The group of Jewish merchants, 
known as al-Radhaniyya [q.v.) sailed from southern 
France, carrying merchandise which was unloaded in 
al-Farama, from where it was transported on the back 
of camels as far as Kulzum, thence by ship to the 



aval b 

established in other 
parts of Egypt, e.g. at Rosetta and Damietta [see 
dimyat] at the mouths of the river Nile in the 
Mediterranean, and at Tinnis. Damietta, in par- 

c Abbasid period, whilst the 

island. Moreover, in 94/713 
Syria also acquired bases f 



n Medi 

London 1950, 52-3). The Syrian dockyards had the 
great advantage of drawing timber from the Syro- 
Lebanese forests, which also exported timber to 
Egypt, while iron was imported from the Sudan. 
These dockyards functioned also as bases from where 
naval expeditions originated, these being launched 
from the time of the governorship in Syria of 
Mu c awiya, in 27/648 or 28/649 onwards. For details, 

in Suppl., and for the great naval battle off the Lycian 
coast in 31/651-2 or shortly afterwards between the 
Arabs and Byzantines, the so-called "Battle of the 
Masts", see dhat al-sawarI in Suppl. To the 
bibliographies given there and in kubrus should be 
added, for the Arab attacks on Cyprus, R. Browning, 
Byzantium and Islam in Cyprus in the early Middle Ages, in 
'Enevrip'u; Kivcpou 'Emaovri Ovtx&v 'Eptuvav, ix (1977- 
9), 101-16; C. P. Kyrris, The nature of the Arab-Byzantine 
n Cyprus from the middle of the 7th to the middle 


10th a 

v a. a, 


', the not 

ment at Phoenix, in Charams studies, New Brunswick 
1980, 229-47; and V. Christides, The naval engagement 
of Dhat as-Sawdri A.H. 34IA.D. 655-656, a classical 
example of naval warfare incompetence, in Bufovxivd, xiii 
(1985), 1331-45. For the Arab naval attacks on Con- 
bibliography of which should be added, for the image 
of Constantinople in the popular Islamic mind, M. 
Canard, Les expeditions des Arabes contre Constantinople 
dans I'histoire el dans la legende, repr. in Byzance el les 
Musulmans du Proche-Onent, London 1973, 80 ff. 

The c Abbasid period (750-1258). It was not 
until well into the c Abbasid period at the turn of the 
3rd/9th century that the Byzantine supremacy at sea 
was seriously challenged, and during the early 
c Abbasid centuries there was a gradual development 
of the Muslim merchant and war fleets, reaching its 
peak in the 4th/10th century. The Arabs' land vic- 
tories, in e.g. Sicily and Crete, were the result of a 

' :h fields as nautical 


was completed by this time, so that Muslim ships not 
only sailed side-by-side with the Byzantine vessels in 
the Mediterranean but dared to reach as far as India, 
South-East Asia and China (see S.M. Yusuf, Al- 
Ranau the route of Arab mariners across the Bay of Bengal and 
the Gulf of Siam, in IC, xxix/1 [1955], 75-103). One 
should also note that in Egypt, the semi-independent 
dynasty of the Tulunids [q.v.] paid special attention to 
their navy, and the Egyptian fleet in its attacks on the 
Byzantines, often cooperted with the Syrian fleets, i.e. 
those of the semi-independent naval states of Tarsus 
and Tripoli. 

of s 

and v 

The early Arabic manuals of navigatio 
all lost. In his navigational text Kitdb al-FawaHd fi usul 
Him al-bahr wa '1-kawdHd, written in 895/1490, Ibn 
Madjid [q.v.], a pilot as well as an author, mentions 
that the earliest dated pilots were Ahmad b. Tabaruya 
and Khwash b. Yusuf (both apparently Persians) who 
sailed in ca. 400/1009-10 and were also authors of 
navigational texts. In addition, Ibn Madjid informs us 

known as the "three lions" (luyuth), whose texts were 
read by him but which are no longer extant (see fur- 
■ ■ ' " Muslim navigation in the Indian 


e was usually 

which a certain number 

existed by the 4th/10th cen- 

tury. Ibn al-Nadlm men 

ions in his Fihnst two such 

war manuals composed a 

t the time of the caliphs al- 

Mansur (136-58/754-75 

and al-Ma 3 mun (198- 

218/813-33) respectively 

(cf. J.T. Reinaud, De fart 

mililaire chez les Arabes, in JA [Sept. 1848], 195 ff.; 
Christides, The conquest of Crete, 29-31). Special men- 
tion should be made of the works of the Mamluk 
author Ibn Mangli [q.v. in Suppl.], whose works are 
a mine of information about Muslim ships, their 
technology, "Greek fire", etc. Most of his works are 
still unpublished, but his treatise al-Ahkam al-mulukiyya 

been recently published by M. c Abd al-Rahim in a 
typewritten dissertation of the University of Cairo 
(n.d.). In this treatise there are explicit references to 
and fragments of an Arabic translation of Leo VI 's 

: Christides, A 
Mediterranean (6th-14th centu 

48). Information about nav 

): an Arabic translation of 
Arabica, iii [1984], 137- 


Cairo G< 
society, Ber] 

dantly in the Arab geographers from Ibn Khurra- 
dadhbih onwards, and also in al-Mas c udI, in whose 
Murudf_ al-dhahab there is ample information about the 
seas, sailors and navigation in general [see further, 
and in such material as that of the 
(see S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean 
and Los Angeles, 1967 ff.). 
1 he replacement of the Byzantine merchant 
fleet by Muslim fleets in the Mediterranean. 
During the c Abbasid period, although Arab naviga- 
tion developed in the Mediterranean, the Byzantine 
long-distance navigation and trade heavily 
diminished. This is less to be attributed, according to 
H. Pirenne's theory, to the Muslim conquests which 
supposedly shattered the commercial unity of the 
Mediterranean (cf. A. Riising, The fate of Henri 
Pirenne's theses on the consequences of the Islamic expansion, 
in Classtca et Mediaevalia, xiii [1952], 87-130; R. 

die Ages, in Cultus et cognitio, Festschrift Alexander 
Gieysztor, Warsaw 1976, 341-52) than to the effects of 
the strictly-controlled Byzantine financial system and 
the loss of several important Byzantine ports in the 
Near East and North Africa. Heavy taxation and 
strictly-controlled profits choked the maritime 
activities of the Byzantines, leaving little room for per- 
sonal incentive; and simultaneously, the activities of 
foreign ships in the territorial Byzantine waters were 
heavily curtailed, limited, out of fear of spying, to 
restricted areas and compulsory lodging houses 
known as u.rarcc<. Thus the great maritime Byzantine 
boom of the 7th century suffered a mortal blow, never 
to recover. Previously, at the end of the 6th and in the 
first half of the 7th century, Byzantine merchant ships 
had been very active in long-distance voyages. At this 
time, the word vaoxXripo? was used almost inter- 
changeably for "captain" and "shipowner", 
manifesting the participation of captains in the pro- 
fits, and Byzantine hagiographical works describe the 
financial support of these long-distance voyages by the 
Patriarch of Alexandria and the great prestige which 
the shipping magnates enjoyed (see Magoulis, op. cit. , 
303-30). But after this time, the land-bound Byzan- 
:y showed little interest in investment in 
mtures. Short-distance sailing uniting the 
various parts of the Empire continued, but this was a 
pale echo of former activities, and it was only in the 
second half of the 14th century that the Byzantine 
aristocracy, having lost its lands to the Turks, 
invested again its capital in maritime ventures (see 
N. Oikonomides, Hommes d'affaires grecs et latins en Con- 
stantinople (Xllle-XVe slides), Montreal 1979; A.E. 
Laiou-Thomadakis places this new tendency some- 
what earlier in The Greek merchant of the Palaeologan 
period, a collective portrait, in Ilpax-nxa -rfj; 'Axa8ir|u.ias 
'AOrivuv, lvii [1982], 105). 

Nevertheless, some Byzantine ships continued to 
visit the Arabian ports; Ibn Hawkal (4th/10th cen- 
tury) complains that, from the time when the Byzan- 
tine merchants were allowed to frequent the Muslim 
Mediterranean ports, the Muslims were exposed to 


: spyin; 

Muslim commercial navigation in the Mediterra- 
nean reached its peak in the 3rd/9th and 4th/10th cen- 
turies, when vessels plied as far as Spain [see tidiara]. 
The most important trade routes at this period were 
those connecting the Egyptian port of al-Farama with 
Constaninople; al-Farama with southern France; al- 
Mahdiyya [q.v.\ in Ifrikiya with Sicily and Italy; and 
two maritime routes connecting Algeria with Spain 
(see T. Lewicki, Les voies maritimes de la Mediterranee 

one m 


rranea n 

11 'alt 


eoo, in 



del Ce 

v [1978] 



ull' All 





l Ah 



ed o 


tical in 




them b 

y the 

4th/ 10th cer 


lands by the Portuguese and other European nations 
in the 15th century (T.A. Shumovsky, A fifteenth cen- 
tury Arabian marine encyclopaedia, in Procs. of the 25th 
Internal. Congress of Orientalists, Moscow 1960; for the 
Arab astrolabes, see asturlab). They also used 
detailed sailing directories (dafatir) and charts (suwar). 
In contrast to our scanty knowledge of Byzantine 
maps and portolans, of which little has remained, 
there is ample information about the cartography of 
the Arabs, with many Arabic maps preserved [see 

Ships and crews; naval tactics. Like the regular 
Byzantine type of warship called dromon, the average 
Muslim warship, the shim, carried a crew of about 140 
to 180 oarsmen. The shini was a two-banked vessel, 
with a special officer in charge of each bank. The Arab 
warships were still equipped with the 


i for 

inflicting minor blows on them and f< 
them in order to hit them with projectiles. The main 
characteristic of Arab warships was the use of 
superstructures on the ships, a sort of forecastle, 
which transformed the ships into fortified towns. 
Mariners, taking protection under them, engaged in 


is types 
tc. Mor 

le thro 

eavy st 

mounted in the bow 

s, launched "Greek fi 

enemy ships [see n 


The recruitment 

mainly in the papyri of 

Egypt, was 

carefully. Theoret 


classes and profess 

re liable to m 

vice, but personal s 

ervice c 

uld be usually 


been experienced sailors. Thus the maritime expenses 
fell upon the entire population of Egypt, but the actual 
duties were performed mainly by professionals. It was 
not till the Fatimid and especially the Mamluk periods 
that this system was changed, and non-professional 
sailors were recruited (Y. Lev, The Fatimid navy, 
Byzantium and the Mediterranean Sea 909-1 036 C. E. 1297- 
427 A. H., in Byzantium, liv [1984], 250). 

Within the crews of ships, there was a rigid dif- 

. betw, 


Mangli mentions ten officers who ran the ship (al- 
Ahkim, ed. c Abd al-Rahim, 39), among them t" 
rge of weather observations, the pilot ai 

. Then 

clear dist 

or mukaddam), in charge of the marines, and the cap- 
tain (raHs al-mildha); and at the top, the Egyptian fleet 
had an amir of the water (amir al-ma?) or the amir of the 
sea (amir al-bahr). The numbers of ships employed in 
operations were not usually large, and as tactics, the 
Arabs, as their naval manuals advised them, generally 
preferred to fight in a crescent formation and less 

enemy by using various stratagems such as feigned 
flights, etc. Weapons employed are described in detail 
by Ibn Mangli, who further adds information about 
"Greek fire" and its use by the Arabs (al-Ahkam, 54 

The decay of Muslim naval power. At the end 
of the 4th/10th century, there was an obvious decay of 

Muslim naval power in the Mediterranean, signalled 
by the Byzantine reconquest of Crete (962) and 
Tarsus (965), and that of Sicily by the Normans 
(1090). In Spain, the reign of c Abd al-Rahman III 
(300-50/912-61) marks the turning-point in the 
development of its naval power. By the 4th/10th cen- 
tury, the Muslims of Spain had constructed for- 
midable war flotillas in their shipyards as well as mer- 
chant ships whose naval architecture influenced the 
Western European equivalents (for the types of 
Spanish Muslim ships, see G. Oman, section "Imbar- 

dal geogrqfo arabo al-Idrisi (XII secolo) nelle sue descnzioni 
delle cosle seltentnonali dell 'Africa, in AIUON, xiii [1963], 
9-13). The historian Ibn Hayyan [q.v.] describes in 
his Muktabas (ca. 450/1057) the activities of the 
Spanish Muslim ships against the "Franks", and also 
the commercial relations between al-Andalus and 
Italy (Muktabas, v, ed. P. Chalmeta and M. Sulh, 
Madrid 1979). But after 'Abd al-Rahman's death, the 
palmy days of the Spanish Muslim navy were over. 
A similar decline is visible in commercial naviga- 
tion. All this was not due to any single factor such as 
severe depletion of the forests of the Mediterranean 

mainly to internal weaknesses of the Islamic states 
system, and to the rise of new powers, i.e. those of the 
Italian towns of Pisa, Venice and Genoa which 
became the dominant powers in both merchantile 
navigation and naval warfare (see A.R. Lewis, Naval 
power and trade m the Mediterranean A.D. 500-1100, 
Princeton 1951, 183). 

The decadence of Muslim navigation was 
accelerated by the Crusaders' seizure of such Syrian 
ports as Tyre and Acre, although Alexandria still 

remain in tnc funduks [q.v.\, whilst the Franks in the 
Latin Orient established their own funduks in which 


beginning of the 6th/12th century, 
n ships were still sailing as far as the Maghrib 
Jy, by the end of this century most of the sailing 
n Western Europe and the Muslim Orient had 
ns (CI. Cahen, Orient 


hades. Par: 

1983, ] 


ie Red Sea to the Franks, unti 
Salah al-DTn in 1170, who transported thi 

Ehrenkreutz, The place oj Saladin in the naval history c 
Mediterranean Sea in the Middle Ages, in /AGS, i 
(1955], 104). It was he who gave to the Egyptian r 


. Pales 


:1 Syria i 

nluks in the 7th/13th c< 

y marks the end of Muslir 

n naval power. 1 

mluks' naval policy was m 

rked by two acti 

ch brought about the destruc 

*er. After their conquest of 

he Frankish citie 

Levant, they applied a 

deliberate policy 

troying the Syrian ports in 

order to make th 

ittractive to any further Cru 

ades (see D. Ayal 

Mamluks and naval power, 

n Procs of the Is 

demy of Sciences and Humanities 

i/8 [1965], 7-12; 

aq, A new source concerning th 

n Kingdom of Jerusalem, in / 

rael Exploration jn 

x[1979], 213); and the syster 

n of recruiting for 

y was altered. Al-Makrizi 1 

ments that, while 

4th/10th century the best w 

•re selected for na 

:d. Simultaneously, Muslim mer- 
teir leading role not only in the 
: also in the Red Sea, where they 
- the 9th/15th century by the Por- 

it Serce Liman 

evidence of an important change on the technology of 
shipbuilding in the early 5th/llth century. It is the 
earliest example we know of a seagoing ship, con- 
structed in the modern skeleton-first manner (see 
G.F. Bass and F.H. van Doorninck, Jr., An 11th cen- 
tury shipwreck at Serce Liman, Turkey, in International Jnal. 
oj Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration, vii/2 
[1978], 119-32;J.R. Steffy, The reconstruction oj the 11th 
century Serce Liman vessel, in ibid., xi/1 [1982], 13-14; 
Bass," The nature of the Serce Limani glass, in Jnal. of Glass 
Studies, xxvi [1984], 64; van Doorninck Jr., The 
Medieval shipwreck at Serce Limani: an early 11th century 
[1986]. - yzanmecommmmDOyage ' m 

Moreover, the shipwreck of Serce Liman reveals 
that by the 11th century A.D. an international flavour 
prevailed in the composition of the crews of the mer- 
chant ships in the Mediterranean and that their 
iily consist of object; 


orlds. Son 

of the 

>bjects which were found in the Serce Liman wreck, 

uxury items, betray that there were, side-by-side, 
rath Muslims and Christians among the members of 
he crew and passengers. The origin of the owner of 
he shipwreck of Serce Liman cannot be identified, 
)ut most probably he was from Fatimid Egypt. It 
should be noted that this vessel, before its sinking at 
freely towards the Byzan- 


;of A 

i Minor. Thus the « 

rchaeology corroborates the information of the 
Greek and Arab literary sources, as well as that of the 

\rab and Byzantine cargo ships in the Mediterranean 
-cached its peak at the turn of the 5th/llth century. 
Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the article): H. Ahrweiler, Byzance et la mer, Paris 
1966; Su c ad Mahir, al-Bahriyya ji Misr al-Islamiyya, 
Cairo 1967; W. Hoenerbach, Araber und Mittelmeer, 
Anfinge und Probleme arabischer Seegeschichte, Kiel 
1967; A.M. Abbady and E.A.A. Salem, Ta^nkh al- 
bahnyya al-Islamiyya ji Misr wa'l-Shdm, Beirut 1972; 
J. Vernet, La navegacidn en la alta edad media, in Set- 

o del Centra 



(Spoleto 1977), xxv (1978), 323-88; J. Des; 
Recherches sur I'actwite des Mediterraneens aux conjins de 
1'Afrique, Rome 1978; G.W.B. Huntingford, The 
Pertplus of the Erythraean Sea, London 1980; I. 
Shahid, Byzantium in South Arabia, in Dumbarton Oaks 
Papers, xxxiii (1980), 23-94; M. Tolmacheva, On the 
Arab system of nautical orientation, in Arabua, xxvii 
(1980), 180-9; J. H. Pryor, Transportation of horses by 
sea during the era of the Crusades, eighth century to 1285 
A.D., in The Mariner's Mirror, lxiv/1 (1982), 9-25; 
Christides, Two parallel naval guides of the tenth century: 


Quddma's document and Leo VI 's Naumachica. A study 
on Byzantine and Moslem naval preparedness, in Graeco- 
Arabica i (1982), 51-103; T.G. Kolias, The Taktika of 
Leo VI the Wise and the Arabs, in Graeco-Arabica, iv 
(1984), 129-35. (V. O 

2. In the later mediaeval and early modern 

This section will deal with both aspects of mildha, 
the mariner's art and seafaring in general, as they 
developed, chiefly among the Muslims of the Mediter- 
ranean, in the later Middle Ages and the early 
modern period; the treatment will also endeavour to 
reflect two stages, the earlier Arab one and the later 
Turkish one: although partly overlapping, they were 
distinctive in emphasis and intrinsic achievements. 

The decline of Arab seafaring in the Mediterra- 
nean, mentioned in section 1 above of the article as 
beginning in the Fajimid and Ayyubid periods, 
became pronounced under the Mamluks, and encom- 
passed its three main aspects: military-naval, mer- 
chant shipping and corsair. It was contemporary with 
and partly due to the dramatic rise of European ship- 
ping in the Mediterranean that gained momentum in 
the 11th century. 

An eventual result of the decline of Arab merchant 
shipping was the lack of Muslim participation in the 
new stage of improved navigational methods that 
characterised Mediterranean seafaring from the 13th 
century onwards. Three interrelated innovations 
marked these methods: the mariner's compass, the 
portolan chart, and an improved and expanded type 
of sailing directions. 

The mariner's compass is first attested for 1187, 
and its perfection and widespread use became the 
domain of the Europeans. The term, of Latin deriva- 
:ion, only marginally appeared in Arabic (kunbds: as 
in Ibn Khaldun, Mukaddima, ed. Mustafa Muham- 
mad, Cairo n.d., 54; tr. Rosenthal, i, 117), arid then 
Dnly with a shift in the meaning characteristic also of 
:ontemporary Italian, where it referred not to the 
istrument but to the portolan chart. The name of the 
strument itself was replaced in the Mediterranean 
igua franca by the Italian word bussola ("small box", 
l account of this improvement on the older 
iprotected magnetic needle; a "compass card", a 
indrose indicating four, eight or sixteen or thirty- 
two points of compass, attached to the needle and 
'olving with it, further characterised this improve- 
ment). This term does not appear to have been cur- 
rent in pre-modern Arabic, a symptom of the little use 
which the instrument received on the part of seafaring 
Arabs in the Mediterranean; on the other hand, it 
later became the standard term in Turkish, where its 
form pusul or pusla is attested from 1513 onwards (R. 
Kahane-A. Tietze, The Lingua Franca in the Levant: 
Turkish nautical terms of Italian and Greek origin, Urbana 

1957, i 

. 133). 

The portolan chart — also called compass chart — 
was a map of the Mediterranean, or of one part of it, 
produced specifically for use by mariners. It differed 
from contemporary land maps in several respects, the 
most prominent being a network of rhumb lines (lines 
indicating the points of compass) emanating from one 
or more centres, usually emphasised by a more or less 
elaborate windrose. The portolan charts, drawn with 
the help of the compass, reached a higher degree of 
accuracy than contemporary land maps, a fact of 
obvious importance to sailors; the rhumb lines had the 
additional function of facilitating the seaman's task of 
charting the ship's course. The earliest known por- 
tolan charts date from the 13th century; by the 15th 

they proliferated, and dominated the Mediterranean 
scene until the 17th. Most were produced by Italians 
and Catalans. Arabic portolan charts are known to 
have existed, but the small number of the extant ones, 
as well as the fact that they appear to be visual copies 
and lexical adaptations of the European ones, once 
more reflect the domination of Mediterranean seafar- 
ing, in the later Middle Ages, by the Christian half of 
that sea. The oldest known specimen dates from the 
14th century and covers the western half of the 
Mediterranean (J. Vernet-Gines, The Maghreb chart in 
the Bibliolheca Ambrosiana, in Imago Mundi, xvi [1962], 
1-16). A case apart is a group of atlases produced 
during the 16th and 17th centuries at the Tunisian 
workshop of the Safakusi family. They are a hybrid 
between the Italian portolan chart type and the world 
maps made by al-Idrisi. Here, the non-functional (as 
far as use by mariners was concerned), mainly intel- 
lectual and aesthetical purpose, was carried to the 

In addition to the portolan chart, there appeared 
the portolan proper: a text of sailing directions for a 
smaller or larger portion of the Mediterranean, as a 
verbal reflection and development in detail of the 
chart. Like the portolan chart, the portolan became 
possible only in the 13th century with the spread of the 
magnetic needle, for its essential feature was the 
indication of respective positions according to the 
points of compass. Here, the imbalance between the 
Christian and Arab Muslim halves of the Mediterra- 
nean is even more striking: in contrast to the great 
number of Christian portolans — again, chiefly Italian 
and Catalan — that have come down to us, not a single 
Arab one is known to have existed. The often men- 
tioned "rutters", sailing directions included in the 
works of al-Bakrl (ed. de Slane, 81-6) and al-Idrisi 
(Opus geographicum, 257-309 = 3rd climate, sections 1- 
3) belong to an earlier, pre-compass method of 
navigation that went back all the way to classical 

Aside from using the above-mentioned three types 
of tools — mariner's compass, portolan chart and por- 
tolan text — Mediterranean seamen of the later Middle 
Ages continued to avoid availing themselves of the 
more sophisticated though still rudimentary 
instruments of incipient astronomical navigation such 
as the astrolabe [see asturlab and section 3. below], 
characteristic of Muslim seafaring in the Indian 
Ocean. This was due, on the part of the Christians, 
not only to unfamiliarity with the methods of a dif- 
ferent tradition, language and culture, but also to the 
reduced size of the Mediterranean where, unlike on 
the oceans, coasts and landmarks were never too far 
away; relative position according to the points of com- 
pass rather than latitude and longitude was the chief 
determining factor. 

When viewed from a broader perspective, Muslim 
mildha, seafaring, in these final centuries of the Middle 
Ages lacked the rest of the growth features 
characteristic of the Christian one. A rapid evolution 
in ship-building technology was one of them. 
Enriched by elements introduced from the Atlantic, 
this technology developed newer and larger types of 
sailing ships driven by square sails and later by a com- 
bination of lateen and square sails; it remained the 
domain of the Christians and further contributed to 
the domination of long-distance Mediterranean ship- 
ping by them. The large Genoese and other Frankish 
(sailing) ships, called in the lingua franca simply that— 
a gamut of variations on the Romance terms derived 
from the Latin navis — or given more specific names 
such as adaptations of the Germanic "cog" or the 

lologically intriguing "carrack", 

: the 

and departures were among the memorable events in 
the economic life of such ports as Alexandria. Vene- 
tian galleys, however, tenaciously endured the com- 
petition, partly by pushing their volume capacity to 
the limit, at which point they became the gallere grosse 
di mercato, the great merchant galleys of the Republic's 
convoys. We see nothing of the sort on the Muslim 
side. Although Arab coastal shipping must have 
retained its local vigour and importance, the galley — 
shim or kifa in Arabic (cf. H. Kindermann, "Schiff" 
im Arabischen, Zwickau 1934, s.vv.)— did not develop 

dally the traditional warship. Arab long-distance ship- 
ping between Egypt and the Syro-Palestinian coast on 
one hand and the Maghrib and Spain on the other, 
still vigorous in the Fatimid period, appears to have 
receded under the Ayyubids and Mamluks. 
Characteristic of this are the voyages of Ibn Djubayr 
and Ibn Battuta. Ibn Djubayr, the pious Muslim from 
Granada whose principal purpose was the hadidi. 
evertheless crossed the entire length of the Medii 



1183, Ceut 

1184-5, c Akka-Cartagena; cf. Rihla 2 , 
ed. Wright and de Goeje, Leiden 1907, 35, 312); Ibn 
Battuta sailed in the 1330s from Ladhikiyya to Alanya 
on a large Genoese kurkura (probably a carrack), and 
from Sinope to Kefe on a Greek (Rum) ship (Rihla, ii, 
254, 354). 


ested : 

self i 

only i 

peaceful c 



il relat 

ons betw 

en the Christi 

and Musli 

m hal 


of the 
al asr 

ect: Mu 

lim coasts a 

coastal cit 

es suf 


d cons 

iderably r 

nore from Chr 

tian naval 



an Ch 

sts did from t 

Muslim or 

ation of which the Crusades we 

a compone 

nt, a 


se and a s 

/mptom. On ra 

Df the M 

es would mus 

enough d 

give an 

effective na 

the Chr 

e.g. the Mamluk attack 

Cyprus in 



ition for 

he 1365 sack 

The naval imbalance was up to a point compen- 
ited by the activities of Muslim corsairs, especially in 
ie western Mediterranean [see kursan]. In the latter 
me, Muslim refugees from Spain swelled the ranks 
" local corsairs, making especially the harbours of 
lgeria bases for efficient pirate fleets that were using 
nail and fast types of galleys. Even their activities, 
Dwever, lacked the magnitude of "Sarasin" corsair 
;ets of the early centuries of Islam, and did not 

i the g 

of the 


official Christian, especially Catalan, piracy. 

The later Middle Ages were thus marked in the 
Mediterranean by a relative Arab passivity on all 
maritime fronts: navigational techniques, ship- 
building technology, merchant shipping, military- 
naval enterprises. This situation changed up to a 
point with the expansion of the Ottoman Turks in the 
course of the 15th century. 

Like the Arabs of the first decades of Islamic expan- 
sion, the pre-Ottoman Turks who spread over 
Anatolia in the last decades of the 11th century were 
nomads unfamiliar with the sea. Again like the Arabs 
of the 7th century, some of these Turks proceeded 
forthwith (perhaps— as in the case of the Arabs— due 
to a predisposition derived from the nomad's mobility 
and reliance on his markab) to learn the seafarer's art: 
the ghaza'' of the Turkish horsemen quickly changed 
into a maritime ghaza'. It was led by the Saldjukid 
prince Caka Bey and his followers in the bay of Izmir: 

the conquests of the islands of Lesbos [see midilli] 
and Chios [see sakiz] during the 1080s and 1090s 
were examples of their signal, though only ephemeral, 
achievements (see A.N. Kurat, Qaka Bey, Ankara 

After a few years, the Turks withdrew from the 
Aegean coast, but filtered back in the course of the 
13th and 14th centuries when they formed the coastal 
principalities of Karasf, Sarukhan, Aydin and 
Menteshe [?.»».]. Some of them — especially those of 
Aydin — launched a maritime ghaza that rivalled in 
scope and energy the Umayyad and Cretan Arabs' 
campaigns against Byzantium. The exploits of Umur 
Beg of Aydin (1328-48 [q.v.]) became legendary to the 
point of being evoked, a century later, by the epic of 
Enverl(see I. Melikoff-Sayar, he Destan d' Umur Pacha, 
Paris 1953; P. Lemerle, L'Emirat d' Aydin, Byzance el 
I 'Occident. Recherches sur "La Geste d'Umur Pacha", 
Paris 1957). The Anatolian coasts and nearby islands 
of the Aegean were the principal area of the Turks' 
contact with the sea. It was there that they first 
learned the mariner's trade, and their teachers were 
the indigenous Greeks who had been practising this 
art since antiquity. Conversion to Islam, intermar- 
riage, turkicisation, all converged to produce a special 
seafaring population whose maritime vocation 
reflected this fusion in many ways. Turkish maritime 
terminology is one eloquent example. Thus the most 
characteristic type of the Mediterranean ships, the 
galley, became known in Turkish by its Greek loan- 
word, kadirgha (Kahane and Tietze, no. 785). 

Vigorous though it was, pre-Ottoman Turkish 
seafaring remained confined to the Aegean part of the 
Mediterranean. Turkish expansion over the rest of 
that sea took place only under the Ottomans, and be- 
came one of the most dramatic and noteworthy 
features of late 15th and 16th century Mediterranean 
history. Commensurably, Turkish maritime ter- 
minology further grew and absorbed much of the 
special professional vocabulary of Mediterranean 
seamen — the lingua franca that was based mainly on 
Italian but also included other components from 
Greek to Albanian and Arabic; this Turkish dimen- 
sion of the Mediterranean lingua franca has been the 
subject of an outstanding scholarly study, the above- 
mentioned work by Kahane and Tietze. 

The Ottoman Turkish mildha thus eclipsed the 
earlier achievements of the Mediterranean Arabs, but 
it retained some of the basic aspects of their seafaring 
that distinguished it from the Christian one. Thus in 
ibove-mentioned initial deriva 



the Turkish mildha was its being based on the ir 
relationship between the military-naval and corsair 
dimensions of seafaring; Ottoman merchant shipping, 
especially long-distance merchant shipping that 
crossed the boundaries between the Muslim and 
Christian halves of the Mediterranean, remained as 
restricted as it had been in the case of the Arabs. 

The Ottoman Turks caught up with the Christians 
in those aspects of mildha where the Arabs had slipped 
behind since the Mamluk period: in the art of naviga- 
'cipal types 

and ii 

ising tl 

selves with some of the newer types of ships and ship- 
building navigation technology. The Italian portolan 
chart and portolan text found their Turkish counter- 
part in the Kitdb-i Bahriyye, a book where the two prin- 
ciples became combined so as to produce a unique 
type of navigational tool that also asserted the Turkish 
individuality within the framework of Medite 
seafaring. Its author, Pin Re>Ts (q.v.; see 

Kahle, Piri Re^is, Bahrije, Berlin 1926; S. Soucek, A 
propos du Livre d' Instructions Nautiques de Piri Re'is, in 
REI, xli [1973] 241-55), compiled it in two versions 
(926/1520 and 932/1526 respectively), producing a 
navigational description of the entire Mediterranean; 
the book is divided into a number of chapters of text, 
each of which is accompanied by a chart of the respec- 
tive segment. Moreover, the second and longer ver- 
sion (one of whose manuscripts has been published in 
facsimile by the Turk Tarih Kurumu, Piri Reis, 
Kitabi Bahnye, 1935) is preceded by a versified intro- 
duction where the author expounds in considerable 
detail the art of navigation besides describing in broad 
terms the world's oceans and the ongoing voyages of 
Great Discoveries. As a book of sailing directions 
encompassing the entire Mediterranean and an atlas 
of enlarged charts of smaller segments of that sea, the 
Kitdb-i Bahriyye is unique in portolan literature; and as 
a text that includes, in the second version, the latest 
information about the discovery of America and 
another great voyages, it stands out in contemporary 

Pin Re 3 is is also characteristic of the Ottoman 

tion was that of a maritime ghazi, whose trade com- 
bined piracy in quest of booty with the conviction of 
performing the ghaza^, Holy War for Islam, whenever 
the target was the Christian elements of the Mediter- 
ranean; intermittently, and especially in his later 
years, he also served the Ottoman sultan by joining 
the fleet on its naval campaigns. This double nature 
of the Ottoman milaha, sc. the individual, private one 
as an assortment of Turkish corsairs in constant strug- 
gle with the Christians, and the organised, govern- 
mental one as the donanma-yi humayun, the Imperial 
Fleet, represented two faces of the same coin, and car- 

(cf. for example the role— not devoid of a religious 
hue whenever the Catholic Spanish were the target — 
of Sir Francis Drake in Queen Elizabeth's time). It 
was its degree and exclusiveness that set the Ottoman 
case apart from the rest. Another and steadily 
revitalising and growing source of strength for con- 
temporary and early modern navies of the Christian 
powers, sc. the merchant marine, remained negligible 

Corsair participation thus played an often decisive 
role in most of the naval campaigns of the Turkish 
fleet, in the extension of the Ottoman maritime fron- 
tier all the way to the western Mediterranean, and in 
the occupation of the post of chief admiral [see 
kapudan pasha]. The case of Khayr al-DIn Bar- 
barossa [see khayr al-din] illustrates and combines 
all these three elements. In 1520, he presented Algiers 
to the Ottoman sultan as the nucleus of a new eyalet; 
in 1534 he was appointed to the upgraded post of 
kapudan pasha; in 1538, he led the Turkish fleet to the 

it Preve 

e Otto 

:h lasted until the 
battle of Lepanto [see aynabakhti] in 1571. 

Although the Ottoman fleet was rebuilt remarkably 
rapidly after Lepanto, the decline— of which that bat- 
tle was an incipient symptom — became accentuated in 
the course of the 17th century. The chief cause was the 
overall decline of the empire's earlier vigour, but 
among the contributing factors was the loss of ability 
to keep in step with the Christian powers' continuing 
modernisation of nautical sciences. Thus the shift 
from oar-driven galleys to sailing ships as the lynchpin 
of 16th and 17th century European war fleets only 
belatedly ocurred in the Ottoman navy, and then 
again due to the efforts of a former pirate and gover- 

nor of Algiers, Mezzomorto Hiiseyn Pasha [q.v.\. 
This seaman, appointed kapudan pasha in 1689, intro- 
duced this aspect of modernisation that had spread 
among the Algerian corsairs since 1605. The improve- 
ment bore fruit in two naval victories over the Vene- 
tians a few years later (1695). The inability to keep 
modernising on a par with European navies subse- 
quently reasserted itself, however, and contributed to 
the destruction of the Ottoman fleet by a Russian one 
at the battle of Ceshme [q.v.] in 1770. 

The Turkish polygraph Katib Celebi (1609-57 
[qv.]) wrote a history of the Ottoman naval cam- 
paigns (Tuhfat al-kibar JT asfdr al-bihar; 1st printing, 
Ibrahim Muteferrika Press, Istanbul 1141/1728-9), 
where he also recorded the organisation and structure 
of the Ottoman navy. The time of this compilation, 
mid-17th century, coincided with the first low ebb of 
the Ottoman Turkish sea power, exemplified by the 
recurrent Venetian blockade of the Dardanelles 
during the protracted conquest of Crete (1645-69), 
and the difficulties of the Ottoman fleet to break 
through it. This naval intrusion of a Christian war 
fleet into the Ottoman home waters was paralleled by 
a growing dependence on Christian merchant ship- 
ping. If in the Middle Ages and early modern period 
Christian shipping dominated only that part of the 
traffic that crossed the boundaries between Islam and 
Christendom, by the 18th century it began to assume 
an ever greater share of the Ottoman carrying trade 
as well, when European, especially French, vessels 
circulated along the entire stretch between Istanbul, 
Izmir and Alexandria (D. Panzac, Lis (changes 
maritime* dans I' Empire Ottoman au XVIII' si'ecle, in 
Revue de I 'Occident Musulman et de la Me'diterranee, no. 39 
[1985], 7-34). 

In the final decades of the 18th century, there began 
efforts to embark on a fundamental modernisation of 
the Ottoman navy that included the unprecedented 
novelty of theoretical training in naval schools estab- 
lished with the help of French and other European 
experts (i.H. Uzuncarsih, Osmanh devletinin merkez ve 
bahriye teskiiati, Ankara 1948, 507-11; S.J. Shaw, 
Between old and new: the Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim 
III. 1789-1807, Cambridge, Mass. 1971, 160-6). It 
was at this point that a counterpart to the term 
"navigation" in the narrow sense appeared, probably 
for the first time, in an Islamic language: sayr-i sufun 
or sayr-i safa'in. no doubt a caique on the French 
model, as in a report of 1211/1797 to the sultan 
(Uzuncarsih, op. cit., 535). These efforts heralded a 
growing awareness at the centre of the state that adop- 
tion of European scientific methods was a prerequisite 
for the empire's survival; a realisation of Turkey's 
potential, based on her strategic maritime-economic 
position, to develop a strong merchant marine, how- 
ever, occurred more gradually and only in the 20th 

Navigation in the Indian Ocean and its Persian 
Gulf and Red Sea ramifications is covered in section 
3 below, chiefly in the specific sense of the word; it 
may thus be appropriate to add a brief survey of 
Muslim seafaring there during the later Middle Ages 
and the early modern period as a counterpart to the 
sketch of its development in the Mediterranean. 

The radical and all-embracing difference between 
the Muslim mildhas of the Mediterranean and of the 
Indian Ocean could hardly be over-emphasised, and 
is one of the intriguing aspects of Islamic history. Real 
enough since the appearance of Islam and during the 
Umayyad and early c Abbasid periods, it became even 
more pronounced in the later Middle Ages. An almost 
total absence of military navies and naval warfare, in 



ival of the Europeans in 1498. Another difference 
i the complete mutuality of Muslim and non- 
iant shipping in the Indian Ocean, in 

pounded and 
m a sense caused by remarkably peaceful relations, in 
fact, the coexistence of Muslims and non-Muslims in 
India. The western coast of the Indian subcontinent 
could be compared in the maritime sense to that of 
southern Europe; but whereas the Arabs and Turks of 
the Mediterranean rarely and reluctantly crossed the 
religious boundary as merchant shippers, their Arab 
and Persian coreligionists of the Indian Ocean kept 
sailing to India and East Africa just as their ancestors 
had done before Islam. This activity had two signifi- 

to the Malabar [q.v. } region of India, East Africa and, 
eventually, also Indonesia; the other, more directly 
relevant to our subject, was a certain degree of 
"Islamisation" of seafaring in the Indian Ocean. If in 
the early 'Abbasid period Arab or Persian shippers 
calling at such ports as Khambayat [q.v. ; anglicised as 
Cabay] were Muslims, the Indians sailing to Aden or 
other Near Eastern ports were not; by the time the 
Mamluks ruled in Egypt, Khambayat had become the 
most important port of Muslim-ruled north-western 
India (a good example of the two stages are the 
accounts of al-Mas c udi (Murudi, i, 253-4 = § 269) and 
of Ibn Battuta (iv, 53), who visited Khambayat in the 
4th/10th and 8th/14th centuries respectively); its 
Gudjarati sailors and merchants became the third 
group of Muslim seafarers, after the Arabs and Per- 
sians, characteristic of the Indian Ocean milaha. The 
Arabs and Persians retained primacy as the seafarers 

beyond to Indonesia, on the other hand, Gudjaratf 
Muslims appear to have played the principal role, 
especially when the Chinese in the post-Yung-lo 
(ruled 1403-24) period and after the final expedition 
of 1433 withdrew from those waters and chose 
Malacca, instead of such South Indian ports as Kulam 
and Kalikat [q.vv.], as the western terminus of their 
voyages. Alongside the Gudjaratis, the Mappilas 
[q.v.] of Malabar deserve mention as a prominent 
Muslim seafaring people of the Indian Ocean from 
the late Middle Ages onwards. In a sense relevant to 
our subject, the Mappilas stand out among all others, 
for they were formed as a distinct human group 
directly through the effect of Arab and Persian sailors 
and merchants visiting this part of the Indian coast, 
often settling there and intermarrying with certain 
castes of the Hindu population. This integration of 
Muslim seafaring and maritime trade with the non- 
Muslim ones in the Indian Ocean, in contrast to the 
rigid separation in the Mediterranean, is further 
exemplified by the fact that the Gudjaratis pursued 
their maritime enterprise alongside the Hindu Vanyas 
(or Banyas), while both groups were subjects of an 
Indian Ocean sultanate (and esentually of the 
Mughal empire) and that the Mappila 

the p 

s of tl 


period lived peacefully alongside the d< 
Brahmi, Nayar and other Hindu groups (as 
the Christians of Malabar) and were well trea 
in fact favoured by the Hindu rulers ol Kali 
"Zamorin" (al Saman in Ibn Battuta i\ 88 w] 

One of the signilicant results of this purely comm< 
cial nature of seafaring (except lor the often bothc 


J for c 



vhen the Europeans made theii 
scene once Vasco da Gama, guided by the Arab 
mu'allim Ibn Madjid, crossed the Indian Ocean from 
Malindi [q.v.] to Kalikat in 1498. The Portuguese 
immediatelv began to suppress native seafaring 
between India and the ports of the Near East both for 
economic reasons— re-routing the Spice Route trade 
around the Cape of Good Hope to Lisbon was the 
goal — and religious ones, especially when the target of 
their attack was Muslim ships or those whose destina- 
tion was the Islamic Near East. Eventually, native 
seafaring recovered from the initial shock and by the 
1540s, through its sheer volume and resilience, broke 

e bloc 

s of the Indiai 

chiefly Muslim merchant 
Ocean, rather than the sometimes over-emphasised 
effect of the entry of the Ottoman naval power on the 
scene, that caused the recovery of the Spice Route 
traffic through the Near Eastern ports. On the other 
hand, the natives never managed to create navies that 
could seriously challenge those of the Europeans; after 
the failure of the Mamluks and Ottomans to defeat the 
Portuguese in the western Indian Ocean (roughly 
between 1508 and 1552), and of the Javanese to wrest 
Malacca from the Portuguese in 1541, all the major 
naval battles were fought among the Europeans them- 
selves once the British, Dutch and French joined the 
fray in the 17th century. This inability appears to 

tradition rather than by a lack of the appropriate ship- 
building technology: for the natives, especially Indian 
shipwrights, had both the skill and resources to build 
large and sturdy sailing ships in no way inferior to 
European ones like the Portuguese carracks. 

Finally, mention must be made of an aspect of com- 
mercial seafaring in the Indian Ocean whose effect 
was powerful and lasting: the hadidj or pilgrimage traf- 
fic to Mecca. Despite the perils of s< 


eally fi 

y for 



\ and East Africa, and the large numbers of 
pilgrims from such ports as Surat or Acheh con- 
tributed to the economic vigour and resiliency of 
Muslim milaha in the Indian Ocean. 

The Arab-Persian inspiration of Muslim navigation 
in the Indian Oce ' 


y of the seafaring peoples all 
'hus mu'-allim (whose principal 

; span of the Indian Ocean; similarly, 
the Persian word nakhudha "ship's master, owner" 
(G. Ferrand, L •element persan dans les lexles nautiques 
arabes des XV el XVI' siecles, in JA [1924], 238-9), also 
found universal application all the way to Indonesia. 
Bibliography: In addition to the works men- 
tioned in the article set S Soucek Certain types of 
ships in Ottoman Turkish terminology in Turcica, vii 
(1975) 233 49 C H Imber 7 he nai y of Siileyman the 
Magmfutnt in irchtvum Ottomanuum vi (1980), 21 1- 
82 [ L BacqueGiammont Soutien logistique et 

ROMM \\\i\(1985) 7 34 R Mantran, La naviga- 
the twn unitienn, tt sts concurrents en Mtditerranee orientate 

au\ WII it Will' suites in Colloque International 
d Hntairi Mantimi 1962 375 91 M Shukri, Esfar-i 
bahnyye yi c Uthmaniyyt Istanbul H06, F. Kurtoglu, 
lurklmn dtniz muhanbelen Istanbul 1932; H. Tezel, 
inadolu I urklirmm dtniz tanhi Istanbul 1973; D.A. 

Encyclopaedia of Islan 


The ' 


es et pirates dans les mers grecques au 
i turque, Athens 1939; S. Soucek, 
r Atlas " and the Deniz Kitah: their 

■e of porta 

Mundi (1971), 17-27; W. Brice, C. Imber and R. 
Lorch, The Aegean sea-chart of Mehmed Reis ibn 
Menemenli, A.D. 159011, University of Manchester 
Seminar on Early Islamic Science, Monograph no. 
2 (1977). 

Literature on Muslim navigation south and east 
of Suez is vast, and only a brief typology combined 
with a few examples can be attempted here. The 
most important and directly relevant primary 
sources are the Indian Ocean/Red Sea/Persian Gulf 
counterparts of the Mediterranean portolans, the 
sailing directions by Ibn Madjid and Sulayman al- 
Mahri discussed in section 3 below. Travel accounts 
are the next fundamental source; the Muslim ones 
are relatively few, but Ibn Batfuta's is probably the 
single most valuable source. European travellers, 
whose testimony chronologically coincides with the 
period discussed in this section (13th century 
onwards) are truly remarkable, not only for their 
multitude but frequently also for their power of 
observation and comprehension of an initially alien 
world. The earliest generation, in which Marco 
Polo and Odoric of Pordenone stand out, is accessi- 
ble in Sir Henry Yule's Cathay and the way thither; a 
later generation has recorded the situation at the 
inception of the Great Discoveries; here, the 
Bolognese Ludovico di Varthema and the Por- 
tuguese Duarte Barbosa and Tome Pires (English 
trs., the Hakluyt Society, 1863, 1921 and 1944 
respectively) tower above all the others. Finally, the 
British, French and Dutch accounts compiled in the 
17th and 18th centuries gradually evolved into 
reports by employees of the semi-official trading 
companies and eventually of the incipient colonial 
administrations now often integrated in govern- 
mental archives; Alexander Hamilton's A New 
Account of The East Indies, 1st ed. Edinburgh 1727, 
new ed. William Foster, London 1930, can serve as 
an example. Official documents in the archives of 
European powers have been fairly exhaustively 
used by historians, but those of Ottoman Turkey, 
relevant for >ne period of the Great Discoveries, 
have only recently begun to be studied. Aside from 
the pioneering essays by Safvet (for example Bir 
<othmanlifilosunun Sumatra seferi, in TOEM, i [1327], 
606-9, 680), it has been chiefly the late C. Orhonlu 
(Hint kaptanhgi ve Pin Reis, in Belleten, xxxiv [1970], 
or his Osmanh imparatorlugunun siyaseti: Habes eyaleti, 
Istanbul 1974) and S. Ozbaran who have worked on 
this subject; the latter's concomitant use of Por- 
tuguese and other European archival documents 
(his ongoing research is at this point exemplified by 
Osmanh imparalorlugu ve Hindistan yolu, in Tarih 
Dergisi, no. 31 [1977]) complements J. Aubin's 
recourse to Portuguese, Persian and Arabic sources 
(see e.g. his Les Princes d'Ormuz du XIII' au XV sie- 
cle, in JA [1953], 77-138, and Le royaume d'Ormuz au 
debut du XVI' siecle, in Mare Luso-Indicum, ii [1972], 
77-179). The brief but significant "report" by 
Selman Re 3 is published by M. Lesure, Un document 
ottoman de 1525 sur ITnde portugaise et les pays de la Mer 
Rouge, in ibid. , Hi (1976), 137-60, is revealing for an 
Ottoman naval commander's perception of seafar- 
ing in the Indian Ocean. The usefulness of Arabic 
sources in conjunction with the European ones has 
also been demonstrated by R.B. Serjeant, The Por- 
tuguese of the South Arabian coast: Hadrami chronicles, 
with Yemeni and European accounts of Dutch pirates off 

Mocha in the seventeenth century, Oxford 1963. The 
extensive secondary literature has so far focused 
chiefly on the European dimension of seafaring in 
the Indian Ocean; here, C.R. Boxer's Dutch seaborne 
empire, New York 1965, and Portuguese seaborne empire 
1415-1825, London 1969, alongside his articles 
such as A note on the Portuguese reactions to the revival of 
the Red Sea spice trade and the rise of Atjeh, 1550-1600, 
mjnal. of Southeast Asian History , xxv (1969), as well 
as V. Magalhaes-Godinho's L'Economie de I'Empire 
Portugais aux XV et XVI' siecles, Paris 1969 (and the 
still more recent expanded editions of the Por- 
tuguese original), stand foremost. The more 
specifically Islamic or Asian focus is best rep- 
resented by such works as W. Moreland, The ships 
of the Arabian Sea about 1500 A.D., in JRAS (1939); 
A.R. Lewis, Maritime skills in the Indian Ocean, 1358- 
1500, in Islam and the trade of Asia, Oxford 1970, 238- 
64; A.C. Hess, The evolution of the Ottoman seaborne 
empire in the age of the oceanic discoveries, 1453-1525, in 
American Historical Review, lxxv (1970), 1892-1919; 
K.N. Chaudhuri, Trade and civilization in the Indian 
Ocean. An economic history from the rise of Islam to 1750, 
Cambridge 1985, M.A.M. Meilink-Roelofsz, Asian 
trade and European influence in the Indonesian archipelago 
between 1500 and about 1630, The Hague 1962; A. 
Das Gupta, Indian merchants and the decline of Surat, c. 
1700-1750, Wiesbaden 1979; A. Jan Qaisir, Mer- 
chant shipping in India during the 17th century, in 
Medieval India: a miscellany, ii, Aligarh 1972; M.N. 
Pearson, Merchants and rulers in Gujarat: the response to 
the Portuguese in the 16th century, Berkeley 1976; S.D. 
Dale, Islamic society on the South Asian frontier. The 
Mappilas of Malabar, 1498-1922, Oxford 1980; T. 
Raychaudhuri, ch. "Foreign trade" in The Cam- 
bridge Economic History of India, i (1982), 382-433. 
Finally, the contributions published as a result of 
the meetings of the Colloque International d'Histoire 
Maritime, which convened under the leadership of 
Michel Mollat for the first time in Paris in 1956, 
should also be mentioned (especially the eighth Col- 
loque, Beirut 1966, with the theme "Societes et com- 
pagnies de commerce en Orient dans l'Ocean 
indien", and the tenth Colloque, Brussels 1968, with 
the theme "Les Grandes Escales"). 

(S. Soucek) 

Navigation was well developed in the Indian Ocean 

winds of that Ocean. These winds and the general 
shape and situation of the Indian Ocean encouraged 
homogeneity in nautical matters throughout the 
whole area, and the techniques of navigation were 
probably common throughout the Ocean in spite of 
the different cultures which could be found around its 
coasts. However, our knowledge of Indian Ocean 
methods comes almost entirely from Muslim sources, 
hence it is difficult to generalise. These navigational 
techniques differed considerably from those used in 
the Mediterranean, which were again common 
throughout that Sea, and Muslim sailors were usually 
conversant with the techniques used in their own sea 
and were not normally capable of navigating in both 

Quite a corpus of Middle Eastern navigational 
literature has survived in Arabic and Turkish relating 
to the Indian Ocean, so that we are able to reconstruct 
easily and in some detail the methods used. The 
earliest navigational texts to survive are those of 
Ahmad b. Madjid [see ibn madjid], who was also the 
most prolific and most important writer of such 

works. He was an Arab from Djulfar, who lived in the 
second half of the 9th/15th century, and his dated 
works range from 866/1462 to ca. 1500. About forty 
of his writings are extant (although not all naviga- 
tional), and most are short treatises in rhyme used for 
mnemonic purposes. His longest poem, the Hdwiya, 
and his large prose work, the Fawa^id, are mines of 
information regarding Indian Ocean navigation. 

Ibn Madjid was followed by Sulayman al-Mahn 
from Shihr, who wrote around 917/1511 and died 
some time before 960/1553. His works are arranged 
more clearly than those of his predecessor, and deal 
systematically with theory and with practical results. 
It is from his works that the principles of mediaeval 
Arab navigation can be extracted and formulated. 
The details can then be filled in from the more verbose 
works of Ibn Madjid. 

Finally, the Turkish naval commander SidT All 
Celebi wrote a work on navigation in 961/1554 enti- 
tled al-Muhtt which is a compilation of material 
translated directly from the Arabic of the two 
preceding authors (mainly from Sulayman al-Mahn). 

The art of navigation was known as Him al-bahr or 
i al-bahriyya. Arab sailors and ocean pilots 


nably 1 

ned their 


ough a long apprenticeship, and much of their art 
was learned by rote through the medium of radjaz 
poems. It is these poems, written down by the more 
literary Ibn Madjid, which form the basis of the sur- 
viving literature. Ibn Madjid then devoted himself to 
writing navigational poems in kasida and other forms, 
finally attempting his long prose work as a sort of 
navigational encylopaedia. 

As all the precepts of this art were committed to 

tion was regarded as necessary. No charts of the 

never mentioned by the writers. Measurements were 
taken, but the only instrument for measurement used 
was a plate of wood through which a knotted string 
was threaded. This is called a khashaba by Ibn Madjid 
and Sulayman al-Mahn, and in the Turkish of Srdi 
Celebi, a lawh. The khashaba was used for measuring 
the altitude of a star above the horizon. It was held at 
fixed distances from the eye using the knots placed on 
the string, and this enabled the height of the plate 
to measure different angular altitudes. Some models, 
however, had strings of different length for the dif- 
ferent measurements, and some had several different- 
sized plates. The latitude of the observer could then be 
estimated from the altitudes of certain stars. Latitudes 
of well-known ports, as well as the latitude of the 
observer, were given in terms of the height of the Pole 
Star (al-Djah) above the horizon, and when the Pole 
Star was out of sight, the Guards of the Little Bear (al- 
Farkadan) (By Ursae Minoris) were used and after 
them the handle of the Plough (8eCl Ursae Majoris) 
(Banal Na l sh). Measurements were taken on many 
bright stars and often on combinations of stars, and 
the readings were usually converted to a figure 
representing one of the groups given above. However, 
some altitudes like those of the Southern Cross (al- 
Murabba ) were memorised as they were and not con- 

The khashaba originally represented the hand of the 
navigator held at arms' length and the unity of 
measurement was a finger (isba°) [q.v.]. The standard 
khashaba was four isba's wide, i.e. a handbreadth, and 
this angular distance was known as a dhubbdn. This art 
of measurement (kiyas) of stellar altitudes became very 
involved. The navigators took into account the varia- 
tion in the height of the Pole Star at certain seasons 

(bdsht) and many other refinements (see Tibbetts, Arab 
navigation, 312-53). 

In addition to the khashaba, in the later Middle Ages 
the Indian Ocean sailors used the magnetic compass 
[see machnatTs. 2]. At the time of Ibn Madjid, the 
compass was so well-known to the ordinary navigator 
and its use was so self-explanatory that the texts have 

very In 


t. It > 

■hukka, with the compass needle as al-ibra. The latter 
was re-magnetised by a loadstone (al-maghndtis [see 
maghnatis. 1.]). One must possibly imagine some 
form of a dry compass, perhaps with the needle fixed 
to a pivoted card. However, this is by no means cer- 
tain from the text. The compass rose, known as bayt 
al-ibra, consisted of a circle divided into thirty-two 
rhumbs (akhndn) and these were named after promi- 
nent stars whose risings (mafia ) and settings (maghib) 

name was used twice, e.g. matla c Suhayl and maghib 
Suhayl, the rising and setting of Canopus for SSE and 
SSW respectively. In addition, the North Pole was 
kutb al-Djah (Polaris) and the South Pole kutb Suhayl, so 
that the latter star (Canopus) was used three times in 
the system. The finer points of compass work, like the 
recognition of magnetic variation, were hinted at by 
the Arab authors but were probably circumvented by 
them in practice. Bearings (madjrd) were known for all 
well-known routes, and as bearings were never read 
off a chart, magnetic variations would be incorporated 
into the bearing. As the risings and settings of stars 
were used for the equidistant rhumb system in con- 
junction with the magnetic compass, it seems certain 
that a system based on these risings and settings was 
used in earlier times before the compass was available. 
Polynesian sailors used a similar system in much more 
recent times, and traces of this system occur in Arabic 
classical literature, when al-Mas c udT speaks of kutb 
Suhayl and al-Hamdanl uses matla'- Suhayl. Other stars 
are occasionally mentioned by Ibn Madjid in connec- 
tion with bearings, and these may be survivals from 
an earlier period. 

These two components, stellar altitude (kiyas) and 
bearings (madjrd), enabled the Indian Ocean 

were other fundamental tenets of their art. Ishdrdl 
were landmarks and signs in the sea such as fish life, 
sea snakes and the occurrence of certain weeds. All 
this was important for locating one's position, 
especially as, with only stellar altitude available for 
position finding, one could only find one's position 
latitudinally and could not pinpoint it accurately. 
Masafdl were distances; but technically, only dist 

which w 


it along 

■. Hov 

measured practically is not given, although 
much is said about measuring them theoretically, 
using departures (tirfdt) and working by triangulation. 
They were measured in watches (zdm) and the dif- 
ference between practical and theoretical zdms were 
given prominence in the texts. Siydsdl was the art of 
dealing with the crew and the passengers, and was 
regarded as a serious part of navigational practice. 
Legally, the navigator was responsible for maintain- 
ing order and seeing that the ship and its contents, 

Finally, the theory of the monsoon [see mawsim] 
and also of irregular winds was an important part of 
navigational technique. It involved a knowledge of the 
calendar, using the stars as a guide, i.e. a knowledge 
of what the position of the heavens was at any date 
and time. A corollary of this was the use of the Great 
Bear as a clock for calling the watches during the 
night. The calendar was based on 365 days counted 

from the new year (Nayruz) which was originally the 
Sasanid year of Yazdagird III. However, as this had 

movement through the solar year until it appeared in 
November in the time of Ibn Madjid and Sulayman. 
In more modern times, it reached mid-September, 
when it coincided with the beginning of the South 
Arabia-India sailing season and at that date became 

Using this calendar, the navigator memorised the 
correct times for starting any major voyage so as to 
coincide with the correct monsoon wind, the word 
monsoon itself being derived from the Arab word used 
for these sailing seasons, sc. mawsim, pi. mawasim. 
Mawsim was actually the time for setting out on a par- 
ticular voyage. The navigational texts give long and 
detailed lists of these mawasim, divided into three sail- 
ing seasons, one with the north-east wind (azyab) and 
two with the south-west monsoon (kaws). There was a 
closed period (ghalk) during the middle of the kaws 
season, because of the height of the swell and 
generally heavy seas. Before this was the awwal al- 

kaws and a 

it the d, 

How much of the Indian Oce 

d for hov 

vas covered by this 
/ long a period of 
the detailed texts 

time, is difficult 
come only from the Arabi 
from the mid-9th/15th century to the mid-10th/16th 
century. As shown above, al-Mas c udi uses a term 
common in the navigational texts, and he claimed to 
have interrogated sailors in the Persian Gulf. These 
sailors sailed during the heyday of Slraf [q.v.] when 
there was considerable trade between the Persian Gulf 
and China, and there is no reason to suppose that the 
same navigational techniques were not used then as 
were used in the time of Ibn Madjid, except for the 
use of the magnetic compass (which first appear 
around 1230 A. D. in the western Indian Ocean). This 
same tradition could have gone back to the beginning 
of Muslim trading journeys, but the close relationship 
between the Indian navigators' code of the 
Djatakamdla dating from the 1st century A.D. and Ibn 

believe that navigation almost a millennium back was 
based on the same principles, although we have no 
proof for the more practical side of the art. 

The Arab texts refer to navigation from Pjidda as 
far east as Formosa and the Banda Islands and from 
Hormuz to Sofala and Madagascar. Ibn Khurradadh- 
bih (272/885) mentions trading almost as far south 
and south-east, but in the China region his text covers 
as far as Silla (Korea?). Thus for most of the 
mediaeval period, Muslim ships sailed to the majority 
of the ports of the Indian Ocean and the South China 
Sea, but there is a fringe area where navigational 
details are sparse and where only general directions 
are given. This is the area where other races probably 
had the sailing monopoly and Arab knowledge was 
second-hand, but alternatively, it may be direct 
knowledge remembered indistinctly from an earlier 
period. Such areas were beyond Kilwa [q.v.) on the 
coast of Africa and beyond Malacca and Fansur 
(Barus) in South-East Asia. Peculiar omissions in the 
more important navigational texts are the Persian 
Gulf and the Red Sea north of Djidda. There is, how- 
ever, a separate poem by Ibn Madjid dealing with the 
Persian Gulf alone. 

The end of this navigational tradition began with 
the arrival of the Portuguese. The Arabs were not 
slow to pick up information from Europeans. 
Sulayman al-Mahri already quotes them concerning 
the route round South Africa, and Sidi Celebi, being 

brought up as a Medite 
acquainted with European methods, although it is 
doubtful if his work had any influence on Indian 
Ocean practice. Among other things, the Arabs soon 
learnt from the Portuguese how to use the sun for 
navigation. However, there is a gap in Arab naviga- 
tional literature until the 19th century when the few 
surviving pilot guides were written, and these are 
based completely on European guides of the same 
sort. Surviving examples of Ibn Madjid's khashaba 
were found in the Maldives in the early 19th century 
and were known there as a kamal, and the same cen- 
tury produced examples of a compass rose on which 
appear the mediaeval names for the rhumbs. There 
are little beyond these few traces, and the dhow cap- 
tains of the 20th century have forgotten even these, so 
that Ibn Madjid's methods of navigation have become 

Bibliography: A guide to the publications 
relating to this subject can be found in G.R. Tib- 
betts, Arab navigation in the Indian Ocean before the com- 
ing of the Portuguese, London 1971, General introd. 
pp. xi-xv. There is also a bibliography of works on 
the subject, pp. xix-xxvi. This work was based on 
the manuscripts from the Bibliotheque Nationale 
given by G. Ferrand, Instructions nautiques et routiers 
arabes et portugais, 3 vols., Paris 1921-8, and those 
from Leningrad given by T.A. Shumovski. Tri 
neizvestnie lotzii Ahmada ibn Madjida, Moscow 1957, 
together with a manuscript which is now in the 
library of the Arab Academy in Damascus. 

While this work was in the press, an edition of the 
Arabic texts was prepared by Ibrahim Khouri, Arab 
nautical sciences: navigational texts and their analysis (al- 
lium al-bahriyya Hnd al-'-arab), 3 vols., Damascus 
1970-1 . For this edition, another text from Bahrayn 
was used in conjunction with the preceding. He also 
mentions another manuscript existing in Bahrayn 
and several other navigational manuscripts. 

Other recent contributions not mentioned in the 
above works are J. Custodio de Morais, Determinac- 
ao das coordienadas geogrdfias no Oceano lndico pelos 
pilotos Portugueses e arabes no principio do seulo xvi, 
Lisbon 1961; Moura Braz, encontro das marinharias 
oriental e occidental na era dos descobrimentos, Lisbon 
1962; S. Teixeira da Mota, Methodes de navigation et 
cartographic nautique dans I'Ocean indien aaant le XVI' 
Steele, in Sludia, xi (1963), 49-90; H. Grosset- 
Grange, La navigation arabe de jadis, in Navigation, 
Paris 1966, 227-36 and (1969), 432-48; Tibbetts, 
The navigational theory of the Arabs in the fifteenth and six- 
teenth centuries, Lisbon 1969; Grosset-Grange, La 
navigation dans I'Ocean Indien au temps de Vasco da 
Gama, in Tilas, xii (1972), 28-36; L. Albuquerque, 
Quelques commentaires sur la navigation onentale a Vipo- 
que de Vasco da Gama, in ibid, 37-47; Grosset- 
Grange, Les traites arabes de navigation. De certaines dif 
ficultes particulieres a leur etude, in Arabica, xix/3 
(1972), 240-54; Tibbetts, Stellar navigation in the 
medieval Indian Ocean, in Jnal. of the Institute of Naviga- 
tion, xix (Washington 1972), 139-44; idem, Com- 
parisons between Arab and Chinese navigational techniques, 
in BSOAS, xxxvi (1973), 97-108; idem, Arabia in the 
fifteenth century navigational texts, in Arabian Studies, i 
(1974), 86-101; Grosset-Grange, An Arabian sea-chart 
of the Middle Ages, in Jnal. of Navigation, xxviii (1975), 
434-48; idem, Les marins arabes du moyen age. De cer- 
taines Hoiks obsewees en Ocean Indien, in Arabica, xxiv 
(1977), 42-57; Tibbetts, A comparison of medieval 
methods of navigation with those of the Pacific Islands, 
Coimbra 1979. Recently, T. Shumovski has edited 
ripts of Ibn Madjid's FawaHd and translated 

them into Russian in Kniga pol'z ob osnovakh i 
pravilakh morskoy nauki, Moscow 1985 (this work con- 
tains a full bibliography). Grosset-Grange has also 

Indien). Considerations relatives a certains termes par- 
ticulars, in Arabica, xxvi (1979), 90-9, and Les manns 
arabes de I 'Ocean Indien in Jeune Marine, xlvii-xlviii 
(1983). (G.R. Tieeetts) 

4. In modern times. 

There exist at least four lists of names of boats of the 
historical past: Gildemeister 1882, Kindermann 1934, 
Hablb al-Zayyat 1949 and Darwlsh al-Nukhayll 1974. 
The number of the Arabic names for boats ranges 
from Gildemeister's 40 to al-Nukhayli's 247 (see 
safina]. It should be noted that these lists were proba- 
bly put together by combing through the literary 
sources. Consequently, they do not usually have any 
mention of technical details, such as tonnage, length, 
breadth or crew, which might give a clue to what type 
of vessel is involved. Also, in the second place, these 
names have no geographical locus and appear to be 
hard to date; taking into account their number, one 
might imagine that these names vary according to the 
place of construction. In this section of the article, the 
region under consideration is restricted to the seas 
around the Arabian peninsula; the terminology has 
been brought into prominence by specialists, and its 
chronological stretch is, posso modo, from 1900 to 

The geographical conditions along the coasts of the 
Arabian peninsula washed by the Persian Gulf, the 
Arabian Sea and the Red Sea would not appear very 
much to favour human settlement. In fact, the 
number of ports there is relatively limited. In the Red 
Sea, along the Saudi coasts which stretch for about 
2,000 km, there are only six ports, only two of which 
are important. Along the 640 km of the Sudan coast, 
there is practically only one port, Port Soudan, since 
Sawakin was abandoned. In Zufar (Dhofar), there 
exist two ports, RaysGt and Mirbat [q. v.], and this last 
is virtually just an anchorage. In the north, apart from 
Maskat and Matrah [q.vv.] there are Sur, once upon 
a time famed for its shipyards, and Shinas. 

It is extremely difficult to estimate the proportion of 
the human population engaged in nautical activities, 

types of fishing activity have almost disappeared. Boat 
building has equally ceased with the adoption of 
vessels constructed from plastic materials or 
aluminium. In 1942, Hornell mentioned 17 centres of 
boat building: In the Gulf, Kuwayt and Bahrayn; in 
the Arabian Sea, Maskat and Sur fUman) and 
Mukalla and Aden (South Yemen), and in the Red 
Sea, Hudayda and Djudda. To these, six more in 
Africa should be added: Sawakin and Port Soudan in 
the Sudan; Masawwa c (Massawa) in Eritrea; Djibouti 
and Ras Aloula in Somalia; and finally, Zanzibar. 
These centres of construction, rather than shipyards, 
owe their fame to the master carpenters and certainly 
not to the tools used, which are restricted to the 

s. This 

n adze 

isible t 

jp a workshop on any coast, provided that there is a 
naster carpenter and a certain amount of wood 

Regarding the description of boats, these are all 
airly brief and lack, above all, any 

which sc 

to be cc 

•y type 

n which the 

agreement, is the sails (A. shird < , pi. ashri'a). The 
wooden boats of the seas around the Arabian penin- 

which is not exactly triangular because the lower, 
external end is cut off to form more precisely a rec- 
tangular trapezoid. The proportion between the two 
parallel sides is in general 1:6. The sails are made 
locally from canvas of cotton generally imported from 
India. Yet there existed at Suhar and Madjis some 
manufacturing involving the weaving of canvas. 
Occasionally one finds some indications about the 
functions of the various members of the crews, but 
usually, their number is only rarely mentioned. 
Moreover, the number of sailors may be increased 
according to the function of the boat, e.g. those used 
for pearl fishing. 

The criteria for classification of the boats are based 
either on their use (pearl fishing, ordinary fishing, the 
transportation of people or goods) or on the type of 
construction (square or pointed poop). Amongst the 
boats typical of local use, one should mention: (1) the 
open boats made from palm fibres, known in Kuwayt 
by he name wardjiyya (see Al Saidan, Encyclopedia), 
simplified into wariyya or huwayriyya (see Dickson, The 
Arab of the desert) and in c Uman and the United Arab 
Emirates as shasha (see Lorimer, Gazetteer); (2) dug-out 

hurt, which seems to be of Indian origin; (3) rafts or 
sorts of rafts made up of tree trunks or lengthy pieces 
of wood tied together by coconut fibre, and called 
ramalh (vars. ramas at Massawa and Port Soudan, 
ramas at Ghardaka in Upper Egypt); at c Akaba, in 
Jordan, the raft is called safina, a classical term which 
is used for ships in general. 

( = "having a snout"), a simple but functional 
transport vessel with a prow which resembles that of 
a schooner and with a square stern, built at Sur in 
c Uman; (2) land} or lansh (<Eng. "launch"), in 
Kuwayt, a motor launch, provided with one or two 
sails, and employed, though not a great deal, along 
the Batina, whereas in the Red Sea, the term is found 
from c Akaba to as far as Ghardaka and Port Soudan; 
(3) batans and (4) md c una, which according to Cifoletti, 
La terminologia, are large boats with motor drive. 

The two generic terms which are most frequently 
applied to "local" type boats are, for French 
speakers, sambouc and for English ones, dhow. In fact, 

refer to types of boat which have at present completely 
disappeared. Amongst those still in use, two further 

being, in some ways, model types, representing 
precisely-defined sectors. Balam is a typically c Iraki 
term for a barque which has both bows and stern 
pointed in shape, with a flat deck and a 

orting h 

ipacity of 
used on the 
of northern 


c Uman, and is constructed according to two models, 

one for fishing (badan sayyad), and the other for the 

the typical boat with an entirely sewn hull, a 

which i: 
o the hull 

eefs £ 

to ha\e been completely abandoned at the opening of 

Bibliography: E. Paris, Essai sur la construction 
naval des peuples extra-europe'ens , Paris 1845; Cmdr. 
N.F.G. Wilson, Bombay Port Trust. The native craft. .. 
visiting Bombay harbour, Bombay 1909; E.K.E. 
Amice (ed.), Data from the work on native craft by Com- 
mander N.F.G. Wilson, RAM., published by the Bom- 
bay Port Trust, National Maritime Museum, Green- 
wich, n.d.; Kazim al-DudjaylJ, al-Sufunfi 1-Hrak, in 
Lughal al-'Arab, ii (Baghdad 1912), 93-103; J.G. 


Lorimer, Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, 'Oman and Cen- 
tral Arabia, Calcutta 1908-15, /. Historical PL, ii, 
Calcutta 1915, Appx. F, Sailing craft of the Persian 
Gulf, by Cmdr. A. Rowand, R.I.M.: A. Moore, 
Craft of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, in The 
Mariner's Mirror, vj (1920), 73-6, 98-105, 136-42, 
repr. in idem, The last days of mast and sail. An essay 
in nautical comparative anatomy, Oxford 1925, 114 ft; 
E. Gobee, Enkele termen bij de navigatie in gebruik in het 
dialekt van Djeddah (Hidjaz), in Tijdschrift v. Ind Taal, 
Land en Volkenkunde, lxvi (1926), 144-55; A. Villiers, 
Sons of Sinbad, New York 1940, Appx. 1, 417-19; 
H.W. Glidden, A comparative study of the Arabic 
nautical vocabulary from al-'-Aqabah, Transjordan, in 
JAOS, lxii (1942), 68-72; J. Hornell, A tentative 
classification of Arab sea-craft, in The Mariner's Mirror, 
xxviii (1942), 11-40; Admiralty handbooks, Naval 
Intelligence Division, Iraq and the Persian Gulf, Lon- 
don 1944; G.C.L. Bertram, The fisheries of the 
Sultanate of Muscat and Oman, Maskat 1948; H.R.P. 
Dickson, The Arab of the desert, London 1949, ch. 
xxxvii "Boat building", 473-83; R. Le B. Bowen, 
Arab dhows of eastern Arabia, in The American Neptune 
(April 1949), 87-132; idem, Primitive watercraft of 
Arabia, in ibid., xii/3 (1952), 186-221; M. Lesourd, 
Notes sur les nawakhid, navigateurs de la Mer Rouge, in 
BIFAN Series B. Sciences humaines, xxii/1-2 (Jan.- 
April 1960), 346-55; Persian Gulf Pilot, 11th ed., 
London 1967, ch. 13 "Local craft"; Hamad M. Al 
Saidan, The shorter Kuwaiti encyclopedia, 3 vols., 
Kuwait 1970; Ibrahim Tahir al-Baghll, Dalil al- 
Mathaf al-Kuwaytl, Kuwait 1970; C.W. Hawkins, 
The dhow. An illustrated history of the dhow and its world, 
Lymington 1977; D. Howarth, Dhows, London 
1977; Fishing and fish marketing. Final report, v, 
Research and development surveys in northern 
Oman, Univ. of Durham 1978; Ministry of Infor- 
mation and Culture, Sultanate of Oman, Oman a 
seafaring nation, 1979; G. Cifoletti, La terminologia 
della pesca a el Ghardaqa (Egitto), in AIUON, xlii 
(1982), 565-91. (G. Oman) 

al-MILAL wa 'L-NIHAL (a.), "the religions 
and the sects", one of the stock phrases employed, in 
the literature known as "heresiographical" (which 
would be more accurately described as "dox- 
ographical"), to denote an enumeration of 
religious and occasionally philosophical doctrines, 
as well as the various groups or schools which 
profess them. 

The origin of the expression is obscure, and its 
meaning is imprecise and variable. On the general 
sense of the first term, see milla. Al-Shahrastam 
claims, in one passage, to establish a distinction 
between milla and din, the latter signifying religion as 
such while the former would represent a certain 
"form of society" (sural al-idjtima°), in other words, 
the community of adherents of this religion (al-Milal 
wa 'l-nihal, ed. Badran, Cairo 1951-5, 48, 11. 13-16). 
In fact, the usage current in the classical period does 
not seem to make this distinction, seeing milla simply 
as an equivalent of din or sharfa, as is attested, inter 
alia, by various formulae of al-Mas c udI, such as al- 
shardY wa 'l-milal, al-madhdhib wa 'l-milal, al-dra* wa 'l- 
milal (al-Tanbih, ed. de Goeje, 4, 11. 2 and 19; 155, 1. 
10; 334, 1. 18). As for the adherents of a given 
religion, thery are called ahl millat (kadha): thus Ibn al- 
Nadim, al-Fihrist, ed. Tadjaddud, Tehran 1971, 411- 
12 (on the various faiths of India), Ibn Hazm, al-Fisal, 
i, 98, 1. 19 (on the Jews); ahl al-milla without further 
qualification being the Muslims (cf., for example, al- 
Bakillanl, al-Tamhid, ed. McCarthy, 358, 1. 8 and 
359, 1. 4). 

While milla is widely represented in the Kur>an, 
mhla occurs there only once, in the verse IV, 4: wa ilu 

controversial; see especially the commentary of al- 
Razi. One of the meanings accepted by the exegetes 
makes it an equivalent of din, diydna, milla and shari^a. 
The only distinction normally established by the 
"heresiographers" seems to be that nihla is said to be 
a concept of narrower scope than milla; al-nihal is said 
to denote the various doctrinal trends within a par- 
ticular religion. In any case, this is the sense in which 
it is quite clearly meant by Ibn Hazm (cf. al-Fisal, i, 
98,11. 19-20; ii, 110,1. 11, and 111, 11. 2-6 on the mhal 
ahl al-Islam); the same applies apparently to al-Nashi 3 
al-Akbar, presumed author of the book published by 
J. van Ess under the title K. Usui al-nihal (Fruhe 
muHazilitische Haresiographie , Beirut-Wiesbaden 1971, 
Arabic text, 9, § 2), and also to al-Djahiz. al- 
Hayawdn, i, 9, 1. 8, and iv, 206, 1. 12. 

The expression ahl al-milal is attested in hadith (al- 
Bukharl, shahadat, 29, in a formula attributed to al- 
Sha c bl; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, iv, 410, 1. 1 and 17), to 
denote the followers of religions other than Islam, 
essentially, no doubt, Jews and Christians. Among 
the works of the Mu c tazill theologian Dirar b. c Amr, 
there is mention of a refutation of the ahl al-milal (Ibn 
al-Nadlm, Fihrist, 215, 11. 4-5). 

It is not known how the expression al-milal wa 'l- 
nihal, which hardly seems to have been used before the 
end of the 4th/10th century, came to be constituted. 
It is found (for the first time?) in the K. Mafatih al- 
lium of Abu c Abd Allah al-Kh'-arazmT, ed. G. van 
Vloten, 35, 1. 12: al-fasl al-khamis ft asami arbdb al-milal 
wa 'l-nihal al-mukhtalifa. Under this heading, al- 
Kh w arazmi describes the followers of religions other 
than Islam, Christianity and Judaism (which form the 
subject of the three preceding chapters), these being 
atheists, Buddhists and Brahmans, Sabians, Maz- 
daeans, dualists of various persuasions and 

The first work to have born the title of K. al-Milal 
wa 'l-nihal is that of the Ash c an theologian and 
"heresiographer" Abu Mansur al-Baghdadi [q. v. ]. 
This book, unfortunately, has not been preserved. 
Albert N. Nader claims to have rediscovered it, 
following information from the shaykh al-Kawtharl, in 
an unheaded ms. of Baghdad, which he has published 
under this title (Beirut, Dar al-Mashrik, 1970); but in 
the opinion of the present writer, examination of the 
text shows that this identification is mistaken (see on 
this point, Gimaret-Monnot, Shahrastani, Livre des 
religions et des sectes, i, Peeters/Unesco 1986, 11, n. 2). 
As for the ms. of Istanbul mentioned by 
Brockelmann, S.I, 667, this is in fact a copy of the K. 
al-Fisal of Ibn Hazm (information supplied by S. 
Yildirim). However, from various references made to 
it by al-Baghdadi in his K. al-Fark bayn al-firak (ed. 
c Abd al-Hamtd, 109, 1. 15, 230, 11. 9-11, 272, 11. 1-2, 
276, 11. 20-1, 334, 11. 2-3, 358, 11. 22 ff.) as well as in 
his Tafsirasmd' Allah al-husnd(ms. B.L., Or. 7547, fol. 
273b, 11. 1-3), it emerges that the work in question 
dealt with all religions and doctrines without excep- 
tion: Muslims of all sects, adepts of metempsychosis, 
philosophers, "astrologers" and other varieties of 
mulhidun. The work seems also to have contained (as 
is implied by Fark, 334, 11. 2-3) considerations com- 
parable to those of Tafsir, fols. 257a-273a, concerning 
dualists, Mazdaeans, Sabians, etc. The fact remains 
that it is not known exactly what al-Baghdadi means 
by the two words milal and nihal and how he 
distinguishes between them. 

Well-known, on the other hand, is the work of Ibn 



zm [q.v.] entitled K. al-Fisal fi 'l-milal wa 'l-ahwd^ 
'l-nihal. Although the author does not explain the 

:cise meaning of his title, it may be assumed that 
first element, al-milal, corresponds to the first part 

he book, i.e. as far as ii, 1 10 (cf. ii, 1 11 11. 2-3: kad 

wind. . . al-kaldmfi 'l-milal), where there is discussion 

;", Dahriyya, philosophers, Mazdaeans, 
Brahmans, Jews and Christians; and that the 

the second part,' from ii, 111, to iv, 227 (cf. iv, 227 1. 
21 : tamma 'l-kalimfl s_huna c al-mubtadi c a ahl al-ahwP wa 
'l-nihal al-mudilla), which deals with heresies internal 
to Islam. 

A disciple of Ibn Hazm, Sa c id al-AndalusT [q.o.\ 
refers in his K. Tabakdt al-umam (Cairo ed. Matba c at 
al-Sa c ada n.d., 18, 11. 15-16), in the context of the 
religions of the Indians, to a book which he says he has 
written fi makalat ahl al-milal wa 'l-nihal. 

Al-Shahrastanl [q.v.], author of a very famous K. 

:> wa 'l-mhal, 
1, 11. 3-5), he 

cf. ed. Badran, 1. 11. 8-9, 6, 11 

contrary types of doctrines: on the one hand, revealed 
religions, based on obedience to a Book, authentic or 
otherwise; on the other hand, doctrines of purely 
human origin, the product of "free thought" (al- 
istibdddbi 'l-ray, cf. ibid., 45-6, 659-60, 666, 11. 5-6). 
It is to these major categories that the two parts of the 
work correspond: (1) arbdb al-diydndt wa 'l-milal (47 
ff.), dealing with, in this order, Muslims, Jews, Chris- 
tians, then Mazdaeans and dualists, labelled as 
disciples of a "pseudo-Book" shubhat kitdb); (2) ahl al- 
ahwPwa 'l-nihal (659 ff.), where there is consideration 
of Sabians, philosophers, pre-Islamic Arabs, and then 

In the bibliography of Fakhr al-DIn al-Razi [q.v.], 
Ibn Abi Usaybi c a and al-Safadi mention a K. al-Milal 
wa 'l-nihal; the reference is apparently — although 
these terms do not appear in it — to a monograph 
otherwise known, and edited, under the title lHikadat 
firak al-Muslimin wa 'l-mushrikin (cf. Fathalla Kholeif, 
A study on Fakhr al-Din al-Razi. . . , Beirut 1966, 193, no. 
38). In an extremely condensed fashion, al-Razi deals 
here successively with the whole range of religions or 
doctrines (Muslims, Jews, Christians, Mazdaeans, 
dualists, Sabians and philosophers), without taking 
account of the distinction proposed by al-Shahrastanl. 
whose work, in fact, he criticises very severely 
(cf. F. Kholeif, op. cit., text of the Mundzardt, 
§§ 98-100). 

To be mentioned in conclusion is a Kitdb al-Milal wa 
'l-nihal by the Zaydi Imam Ahmad b. Yahya b. al- 
Murtada (d. 840/1437), placed at the head of the 
corpus entitled al-Bahr al-zakhkhdr. . . ; to this there cor- 
responds, at the head of the second corpus of the same 
author (and commentary on the first) entitled Ghayat 
al-ajkdr. . . , a commentary bearing the title K. al-Munya 
wa 'l-amal fi sharh Kitdb al-Milal wa 'l-nihal. The two 
works have recently been published by Djawad 
Mashkur (Beirut, Dar al-Fikr 1399/1979). It is from 
the second of these, it may be recalled, that there are 
drawn the Tabakdt al-MuHazila, definitively edited by 
S. Diwald-Wilzer (Beirut- Wiesbaden 1961). 

Bibliography: Given in the article, with the 

addition of G. Monnot, Les ecrits musulmans sur les 

religions non-bibliques , in MIDEO, xi (1972), 5-48. 
(D. Gimaret) 

MfLAS, modern Turkish spelling Milas, in 

), Melaxo, the classical Mylas 

" the beylik of Menteshe [sec 
ari] in pre 


in lat. 37°19' N. and long. 27°48' E. and is 25 
km./15 miles inland from its seaport Gulliik on the 
Gulf of Mendelia (Mandalya Korfezi). 

1. Geography and history. Milas lies on a low 
eastern spur of the Sodra Dagi (Gr. St. Elias) in the 
centre of a very fertile plain surrounded on all sides by 
hills, and watered by the San Qay which flows round 
the Sodra Dagi on the north and west. The road to the 

but' crosses the hills south of the Sodra Dagi, here 
commanded by the once powerful mediaeval fortress 
of Pecin (three miles south of Milas). The bay itself 
was in the Middle Ages defended by the island citadel 
of Asm Kal'esi Qudeich, Iasos; Alhen. Mitteil. , xv, 
139) and later by a castle at the harbour built by 
Mehemmed II (Pin Re'is, Bahriyye, ed. P. Kahle, ch. 
21). At Milas met the old, and although difficult, only 

> the w 


Balat [q. v. ] (Miletus), to the north into the fertile plain 
of Karpuzlu Ovasi and gine and into the Maeander 
valley, and eastward to Mughla [q.v.], the other 
important town of the district. This, and its protected 
situation near the sea within a broad fertile plain, 
destined the town to be once more a capital when the 
region again attained political independence under 
the Turkish dynasty of the Menteshe-Oghullarf. 

The region first passed temporarily under Turkish 
rule when after the victory of the Saldjuks at Mant- 
zikert in 463/1071 [see malazcird], the western 
Anatolian coast with Nicaea, Smyrna and Ephesus 
and even islands like Samos and Rhodes were 
occupied by the Turks. Although we have no definite 
information about Milas itself, we know that the 
monks of the neighbouring Patmos had to leave their 
monasteries on account of the Turks (in 1079; cf. Th. 

and, Milet 

185). 1 
> only when the c 

rule was 
e of the 

imperial government was withdrawn t( 
pie after the victory over the Latins in 1261 that this 
region finally passed into Turkish hands. When and 
how the final conquest took place we do not exactly 
know. Melanudion, which with Milas formed a theme 
from the period of the Comnenoi (W. Tomaschek, Zur 
hist. Topographic Kleinasiens im Mittelalter, in Abh. Wiener 
Ak. W(1891), 38), and is therefore to be located in the 
neighbourhood of Milas and was Byzantine till 1273 
at least, was again taken for a time from the Turks of 
Menteshe in 1296, so that it must have been occupied 
by them a few years before (Wiegand, op. cit.). That 
Menteshe is called EaXitaxi; ( = Sahil Begi, Amir al- 
Sawahil) in Pachymeres (i, 472; Bonn ed. ii, 211), in 
Sanudo (Hopf, Chron. greco-romaines , 145) Tur- 
quenodomar (read: Turqmenodomar = "Turkoman 
of the sea") suggests a conquest from the sea. There 
is no longer any record at this period of the bishopric 
of Milas, which as a church of the eparchy of Caria 
(see G. Parthey, Hieroclis Synecdem 

', 32, : 

c.) was 

r the n 

(A. Wachter, Der Verfall des Gnechentums in Kleinasien im 
XIV. Jahrh., 34 ff.) (Stavrupolis, the ancient 
Aphrodisias, at the village of Gere, twenty miles west 
of Denizli). 

Milas appears as the capital of the principality of 
Menteshe about 730/1330 in Ibn Fadl Allah al- 
c UmarI (ed. Taeschner, 21: j.-*, Jt corrupted from 


j-*", while Fokeh = Photaea which appears as a 
capital in the Genoese report, ibid. , 47, is probably an 
error of the writer and is not to be corrected to 
Mughla) and in Ibn BafSuta (ed. Defremery and 
Sanguinetti, ii, 278-80, Eng. tr. Gibb, ii, 428-9) also, 
who here enjoyed the hospitality of the Akhl [q. v. ] gild 
(on a Futuwwet-ndme written in Milas at the end of the 
8th/ 14th century, see Taeschner, in hlamica, iv, 40) 
and who admires the wealth of the town in gardens 
and orchards and gives the name of the lord of the 
country as Shudja' al-Din Orkhan b. Menteshe, 
whom he visited in his capital Pecin, not far away. 
The Menteshe-Oghullari built very little in Milas, as 
they were engaged in embellishing their residence. It 
is noteworthy that the two mosques of this period lie 
outside the old town, still largely enclosed in its old 
walls; one to the south, in the Hadjdji Ilyas quarter, 
the little Salah al-Din Djami'i with outer court and 
stepped minaret, built under Orkhan Bey in 
730/1330; the other just outside the walls to the east, 
the mosque of Ahmed Ghazi, built in 780/1378, which 
with its entrance in the narrow side (without an outer 
court) and the stepped minaret built above it (Ismail 
Hakki, Kitabeler, Istanbul 1929, fig. 47) looks as if it 
had once been a church (cf. Wulzinger, Die Piruz- 
Moschee zu Milas, in Festschr. d Techn. Hochschuie in 
Karlsruhe, 1925, p. 10 of the reprint). The minbar of 
this mosque, also dated 780/1378, is now in the ginili 
Kiosk in Istanbul. From the position of these mos- 
ques, it may be deduced that the old town remained 
in the occupation of the Christians, who still held most 
of it in quite recent times. The only mosque in the old 
town, just in its centre, and in the highest part of it, 
the Biilend Djami' 1 , seems also to have been a church 
and was probably used by the garrison, if it is old. The 
madrasa of Khodja Bedr al-DIn, which dates from the 
period of the Menteshe-Oghullari, unfortunately can- 
not be exactly dated (TOEM, v, 58). 

Milas received its first important building from the 
first Ottoman governor FTruz, whom Bayezld I 
appointed over Menteshe-ili (Dusturndme-i Enweri, ed. 
Mukrimin Halil, Istanbul 1928, 88) after the conquest 
(792/1390) (the date given by most Turkish sources is 
supported by Bayezid's confirmation of the Venetian 
privileges for Balat of 21 May 1390, Diplomalarium 
Veneto-Levantinum, Venice 1899, ii, no. 134). The 
Menteshe who fled to Egypt (Dusturndme, I.e.) was 
probably the prince of the house ruling in Balat, while 
the senior Ahmed Ghazi may have held out in Milas 
and Pecin till July 1391 (according to his tombstone, 
he died in Pecin in Sha c ban 793 as a shahid). In 
796/1394, Firuz built to the north of the old town and 
outside of it a splendid mosque in the style of the 
Bursa private mosques (cf. Wulzinger's monograph). 
Ottoman rule was interrupted by Timur, who passed 
through Milas on his return from Izmir in the winter 
after the battle of Ankara (1402) (Ducas, Bonn ed., 
76), for about twenty years by the restoration of the 
former dynasty. This last period of the Menteshe- 
Oghullari has left no memorials in MTlas or Pecin. 
The Ottoman commanders then made their head- 
quarters in Pecin, after which this kada> of the 
Menteshe sandjak was long called (Abu Bakr b. 
Bahram, in Hadjdji Khalifa, Djihan-numa, 638, i.e. in 
the second half of the 11th/ 17th century) and only 
moved to Milas at a later date, when a magnificent 
official residence was erected, with defensive towers, 
which is still partly inhabited. 

From the second half of the 11th/ 17th century we 
have Ewliya's description of the town (in vol. ix of his 
Siyahet-ndme, ms. Besir Aga, no. 452, fol. 51=ed. 
Istanbul 1935, 208-11). He says the town had 4 mos- 

ques, 3 rnasdjids and two large khans. At this time, the 
garrison was still in Pecin. He praises the gardens of 
the town but rightly describes the climate as 
unhealthy. Among the products, he mentions 
tobacco, with which Milas supplied the whole of 
Anatolia. Among the holy places mentioned by him, 
we may note that of Shaykh Shushtari because it 
probably belongs to the Baba al-Shushtarl met here 
by Ibn Battuta. Ewliya's description of the old ruins 
is much exaggerated, although he saw a good deal 
more than now exists. Pococke {Travels, ii/2, ch. 6) at 
the end of the 18th century was still able to sketch a 
temple of Augustus and Roma here. All that now sur- 
vives in addition to the town walls is the Balta Kapu 
(a Corinthian gateway with the Carian double axe) 
and a mausoleum called Gumiishkesen (filigree 
worker) (Choiseul-Gouffier, Voyage dans I'Empire 
Ottoman, i, 234 ff., pis. 85-92). In the adjacent village 
of Shaykh Koy is the turbe of Shaykh Bedr al-Din b. 
Shaykh Kasim, who died at Bursa in 884/1479 and is 
buried here, a khalifa of Sayyid Muhammad al- 
Bukharl (see TOEM, v. 311 ff.), on the site of a 
church of St. Xene, who died here {Bull, de Con. Hell. , 
xiv, 616-17). 

In late Ottoman times, Milas was the chef-lieu of a 
kadd' of the same name in the wildyet of Mughla, 
earlier the san<gak of Menteshe; it is now the chef-lieu 
of an ike or district in the il or province of Mugla. 
Towards the end of the 19th century, Cuinet 
numbered the town's population at 9,373 Muslim 
Turks and 1,930 Greeks, but the Salname-yi Aydin of 
1326/1908 gave a total population of 7,261, including 
3,200 Greeks and 739 Jews. The Greeks were 
removed in the exchange of populations of 1922, and 
the urban population in 1955 was 10,145, which has 
grown now (1985 final census reports) to 23,622 
for the town itself and 67,765 for the surrounding 
rural area, marking a grand total for the ilee of 


• liography: V. Cui 

, La Tun 

, 666 ff.; Ch. Texier, Asia Mineure, 
Paris 1872, 648; W. Heyd, Histoire du commerce du 
Levant auMoyen-Age 2 , Paris 1923, i, 535; Sir William 
Ramsay, The historical geography of Asia Minor, Lon- 
don 1890, index; Shaykh Saml, Ramus al-aHam, 
Istanbul 1315/1897-8, vi, 4521; Pauly-Wissowa, 
cvi/1, cols. 1046-64; Baedekers Konstantinopel, Kleins 
sien, Balkanstaaten, Leipzig 1914, 387; P. Wittek, 
Das Fiirstentum Mentesche. Sludie zur Geschichte 
Westkleinasiens im 13-15 Jh. , Istanbul 1934, repr. 
Amsterdam 1967, 125 ff. and index; Naval 
intelligence Division, Admiralty Handbook, Turkey, 
London 1942-3, ii, 573; Askidil and Tiirkan 
Akarca, Milas cografyasi, tarihi ve arkeolojisi, Istanbul 
1954; U art. Milas (Besim Darkot). For the Islamic 

TOEM, ii, 761, iii, 1146; Hafiz Kadrl, in ibid, v, 
57, 309-9; Ismail Hakki, Kitabeler, Istanbul 1929, 
155 ff. (P. Wittek*) 

2. Milas rugs. A notable product of Milas has for 
centuries been fine rugs (used in the modern defini- 
tion of small pile objects, "carpets" being larger 
ones). They are predominantly village products of 
medium size, made in the hinterland of the town. The 
three main types are Ada Milas ("island", after an off- 
shore island), Tahtaci (after the Turkmen group called 
"woodmen") and Karaova (after a village to the south- 
west of the town). Warp, weft and pile are of wool, 
and the symmetric or "Turkish" knot is used for the 
medium-to-coarse pile. Most surviving examples date 
from the late 18th century, though earlier ones are 
known, but the largest output was during the middle 

to late 19th century. Like other provincial Turkish 
rugs, including those of Gordes and Bergama, they 

sylvanian carpets, particularly in the borders of 
meandering plant ornament. Mflas knotters used only 
plant and geometric ornament, and these are stylised, 
with flattened palmettes, serrated leaves, carnations 
■ " =sofMTlas • ■ ■ ■ 


cond c. 

ead of th 


more common blue. Ivory and aubergine 
detail. "Traditional" floor rugs are distingi 
very narrow central fields, the so-called 
group, or the less common square boxes or " 
ments" with wide borders which predominate in late 
19th century pieces. A later "Baroque" or "MedjI- 
dian" style is a Europeanised one popularised by 
Sultan c Abd al-Medjid (1839-61 [q.u.]), builder of the 
Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul. The most distinctive 
type is the prayer rug, which retains the mihrab arch 
and columns of earlier Ottoman prayer rugs but in 
different detail. The distinctive Mllas type has an 
angular, waisted arch, supposedly derived from the 
horseshoe arch, on a ground of sharp red, the "col- 

drels filled with plant detail. The wide floral borders 

are generally on a yellow ground. 

Bibliography: Celal Esad Arseven, Us arts 
decoratifs lures, Istanbul n.d., 282, 290; The Textile 
Museum, Washington, Prayer rugs, Washington 
D.C. 1974; R. Hubel, The book of carpels, 2nd 
English edn., London 1977; U. Schiirmann, Ull- 
stein Teppichbuch, Berlin 1964, Eng. tr. Oriental 
carpets, London 1979; P. Kcnsoussani Melas rugs from 
Asian Minor, in Hall, v/2 (1982), 120-4. 

(Joan Allorove) 
MILETUS (see balat]. 
MILH (a.), salt. 

Islamic times, the ancient Arabs were already familiar 

but also in certain rites, e.g. for the oath which 
cemented an alliance, made around a fire (al-Djahiz, 
Hayawan, iv, 472-3; Ibn Kutayba, c Urun, iii, 39; al- 
Nadjlraml, Ayman, 1924, 30-1; al-Raghib al-Isfahanl, 
Muhadardt, ii, 623; al-Marzukl, Amkina, ii, 155; cf. T. 
Fahd, Le feu chez In anciens Ambes, in U feu dans le 
Pwche-Onent antique, Leiden 1973, 61). But it appears 

tribes v 
>r these 


Now following their custo, 
lit used symbolically to seal tl 
tuted by milk, the latter substan 

c world 


The two types of salt known in the 
were sea salt (milh bahri) and rock salt (milh barn, lit. 
"earth salt") (see Ibn Sina, Kdnun, ed. Dj. Djabbur 
after the 1593 edn., Beirut 1980, 196). Certain salt 
mines were well-known: e.g. in Africa, AwlM was 
called "the salt town" (see Gaden, Us salines d'Aouhl, 
in RMM, xii, 436-43); on the trade in salt within the 
Sahara, see azalai . In the Persian province of Fars, 

(rinses of the Djankan lake. Mountains of salt which 
remained unexploited arc mentioned in the sources, 
near the Dead Sea, whilst near Darabdjird in Persia, 

probably in a sense wider than that of 

• salt. 

i, from 

which were exported to other countries (Ibn Hawk 
300/294; Hudud al-^alam, Tehran 1963, 134, ' 
Minorsky, 128; Yakut, Buldan, ii, 560; al-Ibshlhi, 
Muslatraf, Beirut 1983, ii, 314). Speaking of the 

loc. cit., explains that, i 
5, fairly deep mining w 
:t the salt; the author thus 

ding t. 


>f rock salt. Salt was also obtained from 
narshes (sibdkh, sing, sabkha) near al-Basra, where a 
;reat number of slaves were employed in the produc- 
ion of salt (Yakut, iii, 30; Sontheimer, Ebn Baithar, ii, 
31. sandji; Dozy, Suppl. , i, 625: milh sabkhi). Near 

which the sea water ran, and then the s 
evaporated this water and in the end turned it into 
salt", whilst another traveller in the same century 
describes how quantities of salt were derived from the 
Nile's bed (probably in the Delta; the exact region is 
not pinpointed), for "when the Nile recedes, one finds 
salt on the surface of the ground like a white cover- 
ing". He adds that Egyptian salt is the best in the 
world and is cheap (J. Wild, in the series Voyage en 
Egypte, Fr. tr., 152 [298], and E. Brown, in ibid., 160 
[310-11]). Alpin (Hist, naturelled' Egypte, Fr. tr. 21 [14] 
and n. 36, 270 [140] in the 16th century and G. de 
Nerval in the 19th one (Voyage, 1, 286) praise the 
Delta salt, above all that called rashidi, i.e. of Rosetta, 
which was very cheap. In 1320 the Egyptian 
authorities levied a tax on the sale of salt (E. Ashtor, 
Histoire des pnx el des salaires dans I 'Orient medieval, Paris 
1969, 323). Despite its low price, it is related that a 
certain person gave a box full of salt to someone as a 
present, but it appears that the originality of the idea 

indicates that it was an isolated case (Ibn Kutayba, 
<Uyun, 111, 39; al-Khalidiyyan, Tuhaf, ed. S. 
Dahhan, 120, 192, 207; al-Raghib al-Isfahanl, op. 
cit., i, 261; al-Watwat, Ghurar, Cairo 1248/1832-3, 

As in other languages, the word denoting salt con- 
tains several senses in Arabic: not only that of table 
salt (sodium chloride, see A. Siggel, Gdbir, Wiesbaden 
1968, 215) but also several kinds of natron and other 
substances resembling salt. There is found tanners' 
salt (milh al-dabbagha), naphtha salt, goldsmiths' salt 
(milh al-sagha), etc. (Thabit b. Kurra, ed. Sobhy, 39; 
Sontheimer, op at., ii, 531; Mcyerhof, Maimonide, 
glossary; Anawati, Drogues, 142). The medical quali- 
ties of salt, with or without garlic, etc., are well- 
known in medical literature and in hadith (al-Razi, 
Manqfi* al-aghdhiya, Beirut 1982, 203; Ibn Kayyim al- 
Djawziyya, al-Tibb al-nabawi, Cairo 1957, 309-10; al- 
Rahma ft 'l-tibb, attributed to al-Suyutl, Beirut n.d., 
ch. 85; Sontheimer, hi. at.; and see section 2 below); 

it was added to several items of food and used to 



fumed salt") (A" al-Tabikh, ms. Oxford, Hur 
fols. 33a ff. = Ibn Sayyar al-Warrak, A'. al-Tabikh, 
ed. Kaj Ohrnberg and Sahban Mroueh, Helsinki 

Bibliography: Given in the article. See also H. 
Kindcrmann, Uber die guten Silten, Leiden 1964, 
308-9. (J. Sadan) 

2. In medicine. Knowledge of the manifold heal- 
ing powers of salt, already praised by Dioscurides, 
was taken over by the Arabs and enlarged by their 
own observations. Together with common salt, rock- 
sall (ScXe? opuxtov), to which probably corresponded 
considered to be the most 

. Dist 

smelling of naptha (al-nafti) and of boiled eggs (al- 
baydi), the black Indian salt, uric salt (milh al-bawt), 
potassium salt (al-kily), and others. All salts have 

: effectiv< 

laxatives, dissolve viscous phlegm and purge the 
bowels. Salt stimulates the appetite and aids the diges- 
tion, but excessive use heats the blood, weakens the 
power of vision, diminishes potency and causes 
itching and scabies. Bitter salt (al-milh al-murr) purges 
black bile, Indian salt the gastric juices. Wool 
saturated in a salt solution, if put on a fresh wound, 
stops the bleeding. According to the K. al-TadJribatayn 
'-aid adwiyat Ibn Wafid of Avempace [see ibn badjdia], 
the manuscript of which has been lost but which is 
quoted at length by Ibn al-Baytar, salt also plays an 
important role in dentistry: dissolved in vinegar and 
used as mouthwash, it stops the bleeding of the gums 
and of open wounds after an extraction; the same 
solution, if heated, soothes teeth and, used as gargle, 
removes phlegm from the mouth. 

Bibliography: Dioscurides, De materia medica, ed. 
Wellmann, iii, Berlin 1914, 79-82 ( = lib. V, 
109) = La "Materia medica" de Dioscorides, ii (Ar. tr. 
Istafan b. Basil), ed. Dubler and Teres, Tetuan 
1952, 424 f. = K. al-HashaHshfi hayuld •l-' 
li-Dlskurldus mm isldh ... al-Ndtill, ms. Leiden 1301, 
fols. 206b, 25-70b, 2; Claudii Galeni Opera omnia, ed. 
Kiihn, xii, 372-4 = DjalInus, K. al-Adwiya al- 
mufrada, ms. Escorial 793 (Renaud), fols. 180b, 19- 
181a, 16; C A1I b. Rabban al-Taban, Firdaws al- 
hikma, ed. Siddlkl, Berlin 1928, 395; RazT, Hdwi, 
xxi, 554-61 (no. 830); Ibn Abi '1-Ash c ath, al-Adwiya 
al-mufrada, ms. Rabat, Bibl. Gen. 291, fols. 276-7; 
Aba Mansur al-HarawI, al-Abniya '■an haki'ik al- 
adwiya, ed. Bahmanyar and Ardakanl, Tehran 
1346, 314 f.; KhwarazmT, Mafatth al-'ulum, ed. van 
Vloten, 259, tr. E. Wiedemann, in Aufsdtze zur arab. 
Wissenschaftsgeschichte, i, 709; C A1T b. c Isa, Tadhkirat 
al-kahhdlln, Haydarabad 1383/1964, 380; Zahrawl, 
Tasrif, ms. Istanbul, Besir Aga 502, fol. 506b, 8-12; 
Ibn Slna, Kdnun, Bulak, 1294, i, 371-2; Ibn 
Biklarish, Musta'im, ms. Naples, Bibl. Naz. Ill, F. 
65, fol. 66b, 7-9; Ghafiki, al-Adwiya al-mufrada, ms. 
Rabat, Bibl. Gen. 155 I, fol. 64b, 20-1 alas = «Xe?, 
salt; Idrisi, DjttmF, ms. Istanbul, Fatih 3610, fols. 
280, 8-281, 20; Ibn Hubal, Mukhtdrdt, Haydarabad 
1362, ii, 130; Maimonides, Un glossaire de matiere 
medicale, ed. Meyerhof, Cairo 1940, no. 221; Ibn al- 
Baytar, Dxamt', Bulak 1291, iv, 163-6, tr. Leclerc 
no. 2164; Yusuf b. c Umar al-Ghassani, Mu'tamad, 
ed. M. al-Sakka, Beirut 1395/1975, 504-6; Kaz- 
winl, 'AdjaHb..., Kosmographie, ed. Wustenfeld, i, 
240; Suwaydl, Simdt, ms. Paris ar. 3004, fol. 169a, 
3-18; Antaki, Tadhkira, Cairo 1371/1952, i, 323-4; 
Dozy, Suppl., ii, 610. (A. Dietrich) 

3. The salt trade in the Ottoman empire. Salt 
was a very significant contributor to Ottoman state 
treasury revenues, both from taxation (resm-i milh) 
and through export to foreign countries. Although 
Mehmed c Ashik [q.v.\ distinguishes seven distinct 
types and grades of salt in his Menazir al-'awdlim (ms. 
Topkapi Saray, III. Ahmed 1578, fol. 369b), his 
categories may be simplified to two basic ones: salt 
produced through evaporation in above-ground pools 
(mamlaha luzu), and subterranean deposits of 
crystallised or rock salt (ma'den luzu). Based on 
Hiiseyn Hezarfenn's [q.v.\ description of goods sup- 
plied in 1071/1671 to the palace kitchens as part of the 
housekeeping funds (odjdklik), sent in cash and kind 
from various part of the empire (Barkan, in IFM, xvii, 
335), it may be inferred that salt from three different 
regions was regarded as top grade: 


ir Sherefli Kochisar) 

Like other minerals, salt was subject to the assess- 
ment of a one-fifth tithe, the khums-i shar'i, and the 
state typically farmed out the management of salt 
works to private interests and collected its share by 
means of the mukdta'a [q.v] mechanism. However, in 
order to ensure maximum profitability and produc- 
tivity of this resource, the government imposed 
special conditions on the operation of salt works. A 
detailed description of the terms of leasing and condi- 
tions of operation at a salt bed in Zwornik province 
(Handzic, in Prilozi..., 171-3) provides a solid 
framework for analysing state concerns. From this 
document, we learn that to prevent the works from 
remaining idle due to lack of sufficient fuel to operate 
the crystallising pans, the state ensured that the 
available wood supplies should first be distributed for 
use on the days devoted exclusively to the production 
of treasury salt {mlrl tuz), and only if any surplus 
should remain was it to be made available for produc- 
tion benefitting the mine workers and shareholders 
(rendj_berdn) at the salt works. Furthermore, to prevent 
loss of revenues due to price competition, government 
regulations provided that all treasury salt had to be 
sold first before the shareholders' salt could be put on 
to the market. These measures helped to ensure a 
regular and steady income to the treasury from its tax- 
farm leases for salt production. The location and level 

and Rumelia as indicated by the akc'e-vaiue of a one- 
year's lease of the tax-farm are shown in Tables A and 
B below. 

Table A: Anatolia 

1. Belas(Haleb) 


2. Djabbui (Haleb) 


3. Kochisar (Kirshehir) 

4. Sarikamish of Corum 




4. Khorkhun (Sivas) 


6. Hinis (Erzurum) 


7. Tortum (Erzurum) 


8. Cankfrf (Ankara) 


9. Batnos (Aydfn) 


10. Pecin (Mughla) 


1 1 . Karesi province 


Total for Anatolia and 

northern Syria 


Source: Basbakanhk Arsivi, MM 7075, summary ta 
farm register for Anatolia and parts of northern Syi 
for the year 1046/1636-7. 

cf. the figure < 
akces) given in I; 
1475 (Babinger, 

12,000 ducats ( x 50 = 600,000 

r. Ak. [1956], 68). Note 
nis earlier ngure excludes both eastern 
ia and northern Syria, which at that time had 
yet been made part of the empire. 

Table B: Rumelia 

1. Akhyolu/Pomorie (Edirne) 

2. Avlonya/Valona (Elbasan) 

3. Enez and Kavak (Edirne) 

4. c Urfan/ c Orfani (Selanik)* 


Source: Akhyolu— Istanbul, BBA, KK 2024, 127; 
entry dated 1051/1641. Avlonya, etc.— State treasury 
budget for the year 1079-80/1669-70; Barkan, in 
IFM, xvii, 210; notations dated 1101/1690-1. 

* The salt works at c Urfan situated east of 
Thessaloniki on the Gulf of Stromonikos (Mostras, 
Diet. Geographique, 34; Inciciyan, Osmanli Rumelisi, 
37) is also singled out for mention in the Menazir al- 
'■awdlim, toe. cit. , as one of the empire's most impor- 
tant sources of sea salt, a concentrated form exten- 
sively used for both industrial and domestic 

** cf. the figure of 92,000 ducats ( x 50 = 4,600,000 
akces) in Iacopo de Promontorio's account (Bab- 
inger, op. cit., 63). Gucer (in IFM, xxiii, table at 
130-1) calculates the composite revenues derived 
from 27 separate Rumelian and Anatolian 
mukaia'-as, dating mostly from the late 10th/16th 
century and about equally distributed between the 
two halves of the empire, as having yielded an 
annual revenue of 8,387,943 akces. 

Although the combined production of these sea 
tered salt works in the Anatolian and Rumelian pro\ 
inces was by no means inconsequential, major coi 
centrations of salt lay in areas outside the sphere < 
direct Ottoman administrative control. Large quai 
tities of salt entered the Ottoman territories via the 
Danubian ports from Wallachia. According to the 
data presented by Gucer (in IFM, xxiii, 1 15) a yearly 
quantity amounting to some 4,000 wagon loads of salt 
entered Ottoman lands as a commodity of trade, and 
it is known that still further amounts were sent as part 
of a yearly tribute to the Ottoman sultan, both from 
the voyvodas of Wallachia and from the khans of the 
Crimea. According to a document housed in the 
Istanbul archives (BBA, KK 5024, 122), the annual 
contribution of the khans was set at the level of 40,000 
kites which, using the conversion rate of 32 okkas per 
kite or 41 kg. specified in the document, equalled 
1,640 tons. Of the several sites in the Crimea which 
were exploited for purposes of salt extraction, Perekop 
(Or-kapi) was the most productive. The vital impor- 
tance of the salt trade to the khans as a source of 
revenue was already noted in the mid- 13th century 
account of William of Rubruck (Hakluyt Soc. , 2nd 
Series, iv, 52), and the continuing large scale of 
operations at Perekop is indicated in a succession of 
later sources as well. Ewliya Celebi estimated the 
value of the state-operated concession at Perekop in 

the mid-1 lth/17th century as 10,000 gurush 
( x 100 = 1,000,000 akces) (Seyahat-name, viii, 561), but 
this clearly only represented a fraction of the total pro- 
duction which was estimated ca. 1900 to have been in 
the neighbourhood of 759 million pounds or 345,000 
metric tons (Rubruck, loc. cit.). A large proportion of 
this was consumed internally and used for preserva- 
tion of the fish catch and as an important element in 
regulating the diet of the sheep flocks, both mainstays 
of the Crimean economy (on the use of salt to help 
maintain the body weight of sheep, administered on a 
regular basis after their return from evening pasture, 
see Peysonnel, Tratte, i, 172-3; and S. Parkes, A letter 
to farmers..., 50-2, 66-7). The extent of the export 
trade in salt in the 10th/16th century may be gauged 
from the figure of 4,000 wagon loads referred to 
above. While a "wagon load" constitutes a rather 
imprecise basis for measurement, and varied from as 
little as 1,000 to as much as 8,000 okkas, if we take the 
conservative value of 1,500 okkas or 1,942 tons to 
represent the average araba, and use it as a basis for 
estimating the proportion of total production destined 
for export, the 4,000 araba figure corresponds to about 
7,768 tons, only a small fraction of what was con- 
sumed locally. This situation, in fact, matches rather 
well with what we know of the strictly-controlled 
system of market distribution, both for salt and for 
other minerals, which was based on spatially-confined 

was the case with other forms of mining, the method 
of labour organisation involved registration of 
elements among the population of villages near the 
centres of salt production as tuzgju re c dyd. For salt pro- 
duction, the labour force was divided, according to 
the scale of production at each evaporation pond 
(gtlek), into work crews of various sizes with 30, 50, 60 
or even 80 members, each group under its individual 
■«'«, each of whom in turn reported to 


, 101 


e Guce 

;ither a 

On the celebrated salt mines of Wallachia and 
Transylvania, we have information dating from a 
variety of different periods which indicates a con- 
tinuous, intensive production of salt throughout the 
Ottoman period. Fichtel's classic account of the late 
12th/ 18th century refers to the operation of as many 
as 120 separate mines in Transylvania alone, while 
from the mines centred around Targu-Ocna on the 
eastern skirts of the Carpathian mountains 
(presumably the same as the "Hosni" mentioned in 
Peysonnel's account, i, 188), the annual production of 
the five principal state-operated mines approached the 
100,000 ton mark (detailed figures for the years 1887 
and 1888 may be found in Istrati, Steinsalzwerke. . . , 

After the state monopoly (inhisdr) on salt production 
in the Ottoman empire passed to the jurisdiction of 
the Public Debt Administration in 1882, a more cen- 
tralised system of accounting was introduced to 
replace the system of individual taxfarm leases 
(mukdta'-a). Under the new system, the empire was 
divided into regional and provincial bureaux 
(muduriyyets), each of which regularly reported its pro- 
duction statistics to the central office in Istanbul (for 
a report of one of the roving treasury inspectors 
(maliyye mufettishi) named C A1I Bey on the operations of 
the salt flats at Djabbul and at Siirt in the late 19th 
century, see his Seyahat zhurnali, 6, 15-16). As a conse- 
quence of these administrative changes, very detailed 
and accurate figures are available, both for overall salt 










Total exports 

114,000 tc 

production, and for export destinations in the post- 
Tanzimdt [q.v.] period. From figures for the first 
decade of the 20th century, it appears that, despite the 
existence of much greater potential reserves, produc- 
tion of salt was deliberately limited to about one-half 
of full capacity, presumably in part to maintain a 
resonably high price on the international market. The 
regular annual production of all mines and salt ponds 
in the empire at this time varied between 230,000 tons 
(table in the Ihsd^iyydt-i maliyye for 1325 A.H., 192-3) 
and 300,000 tons (table in Solakian, 83). In Contrast 
to the situation of the 10th-l lth/ 16th- 17th centuries, 
a very large proportion of this increased production, 
ranging from one-third (Solakian, 3) to almost one- 
half (IhsdHyydl, 194: 114,000 tons exported out of a 
total production of 240,000 tons) was set aside for 
export, especially to the Muslim East (on this, see 
IhsdHyydt, loc. cit.; 114,000 tons were sent to the 


The explanation for this reversal of traditional pat- 
terns is clearly to be sought in the compelling 
necessity, especially after the fiscal crisis of the 1870s, 
of generating expanded sources for revenues in cash 
in order to help reduce the national debt. As part of 
this process, production of salt at certain sites was 
greatly increased over former levels in the late 19th 
and early 20th centuries. The largest contributor for 
export to the Indian market was the Yemen, where 
the salt works at Salif alone sent a quantity of 40,000 
tons in 1324/1906 (Ihsd?iyydt, 191). This quantity rep- 
resented nearly 40% of the total production of the 
Yemen for that year (Solakian, 83; the Yemen's total 
production for 1908 was 100,500 tons). 

Bibliography: A. General works on salt pro- 
duction in antiquity and modern times: E.M. 
Broddy, The history of salt, with observations on its 
geographical distribution, London 1881; W. 
Brownrigg, The art of making common salt as now prac- 
tised in most parts of the world, London 1 748; J. von 
Buschman, Das Salz: dessen Vorkommen und Verwertung 
in sdmtlichen staaten der Erde, 2 vols., Leipzig 1906-9; 
H. Hauser, Le sel dans I'histoire, in Revue economique 
internationale, iii(1927), 270-87; P. Krusch el alii, Die 
Lagerstatten der nuizbaren Mineralien und Gesteine, Stutt- 
gart 1938; R.P. Multhauf, Neptune's gift: a history of 
common salt, Baltimore 1978; J. Nenquin, Salt, a 

Archaeologicae Gandenses, vi, Bruges 1961; Das Salz, in 
Pauly-Wissowa, 2nd ser., i, 2075-99; S. Parkes, A 
letter to farmers and graziers on the advantages of using salt 
in agriculture and in feeding various kinds of farming stock, 
4th ed., London 1819; R.J. Schreiden, Das Salz: 
seine Geschichte. . . , Leipzig 1875. 
B. Travellers' accounts and first-hand obser- 
vations on salt production in the Ottoman 
empire and neighbouring countries: C A]I Bey, 
Seyahat zhurnali, Istanbul 1314/1896; Ewliya Celebi, 
Seydhal-ndme, 10 vols., Istanbul 1314/1896-1938; 
Dewlet-i 'Aliyye c Othmaniyye Maliyye Nezareti, 
IhsdHyydt-i maliyye, 1325 senesi, Istanbul 1317/1909; 
E.D. Clarke, Travels in Russia, Tatary, and Turkey, 
Philadelphia 181 1 ; M. Edwards, Notes on mines in the 
Ottoman empire, in Transactions of the Institution of Min- 
ing and Metallurgy, xxiii (1914), 192-210; J.E. von 
Fichtel, Beitrag zur Mineralgeschichte von Siebenburgen. 

Teil 2: Geschichte des Steinsalzes und der Steinsalzgruben 
in Grossfurstenthum Siebenburgen, Nuremburg 1780; J. 
Heers, Genes au XV siecle, Paris 1961 (349-56 on salt 
production in the Crimea); Iacopo de Promontorio, 
Die Aufzeichnungen des Genuesen Iacopo de Promontorio de 
Campis iiber den Osmanenstaat urn 1475, ed. F. Bab- 
inger, in SB Bayr. Ak. (1956), Heft 8; P.L. 
Inciciyan-H.D. Andreasyan, Osmanh Rumelisi tarih 
ve cografyast, in Istanbul U., Guney-Dogu Avrupa 
Arastirmalan Dergisi, ii-iii (1973-4), 1 1-88; V. Istrati, 
Die Steinsalzwerke in Rumdnien, in Osterreichische 
Zeiischr. fur Berg und Hultenwesen, xxxvii (1889), 423- 
4; C. Mostras, Dictionnaire geographique de I'empire 
Ottoman, St. Petersburg 1873; Claude Charles de 
Peysonnel, Traite sur le commerce de la Mer Noire, 2 
vols., Paris 1787; William of Rubruck, Journey to the 
eastern parts of the world, 1253-1255, tr. W.W. 
Rockhill, London 1900 (The Hakluyt Society, 2nd 
Series, vol. iv); A. Solakian, Les richesses naturelles et 
economiques de I'Asie Mineure, Istanbul 1923. 
C. Archival sources and documentary 
studies: documents recording the terms of assign- 
ment for tax-farm leases on salt from the records of 
the bash mukdla'-a department of the Ottoman central 
treasury: R. Anhegger and H. inalcik (eds.), 
Kdnunndme-i sultdm ber mucib-i c 6rf-i c osmdni, Ankara 
1956 (documents nos. 20-5, pp. 28-35); 6.L. 
Barkan (ed.), Kanunlar, Istanbul 1943. The most 
important regulations in this collection bearing on 
the question of salt production are the following: 1 . 
Kdndnndme-i iskele-yi Trdbulus-i Shdm (97911571), in 
Barkan, Kanunlar, 214; 2. Kdnunndme-yi Rodos ve 
Istankoy (106111650), in Barkan, op.cit., 340; 3. 
Fdlih kdnunndmesi, para. 18, in Barkan, op. cit., 394; 
4. KdnUnndme-i wildyet-i Bosna (92211516), in 
Barkan, op. cit. , 399. See also idem (ed.), 1079-1080 
(1669-1670) maliyilina ait bir Osmanh butcesi, in IFM, 
xvii (1955-6), 304-47; L. Giicer, XV-XVII. asirlarda 
Osmanh imperatorlugunda tuz inhisan ve tuzlalarin isletme 
nizami, in IFM, xxiii (1962-3), 81-143; A. Handzid, 
Zakonska odrebda (kanun) o tuzlanskim solanama, in 
Prilozi za Orientalnu Filologiju, viii-ix (1958-9), 169- 
79 (contains text of a document from Tapu defteri, 
no. 260, dated 955/1548). (R. Murphey) 

MIL1ANA [see milyAna]. 
MILITIA, MILITARY [see dtaysh; djund]. 
MILK (a.), a legal term denoting ownership. 
One must not expect to find in the earliest fikh texts 
a definition of ownership. Certainly, the term milk is 
found, but forms part of such expressions as ft milkihi 
"in his ownership", ftghayr milkihi "not in his owner- 
ship" and kharadja min milkihi "it left his ownership". 
The verb "to own", malaka, is often used, and the 
phrase malaka c alayhi is employed when the object in 
question passes from one person's ownership into 
another's. Ownership (milk) is to be distinguished 
from possession iyad). The characteristic feature of 
ownership is its perpetual nature. If a tenant or lessee 
has only temporary possession, the ownership itself 
cannot be the subject of an act of relinquishment (iskdt 
[q.v. in Suppl.]). 

The person exercising ownership is the owner 
or proprietor. The term mdlik is very little used; rabb 
al-mdl or sahib is prefered to it. 

The object of ownership is the thing taken into 
ownership, mamluk. Slaves, landed estates, houses, 
etc., can be the subject of this. 

Ways of acquiring ownership. The thing, the 
object of ownership, can be acquired or become the 
property of a person by means of purchase (shird 7 ), of 
a gift (hiba), an act of charity (sadaka) or of a 


ion (wasiyya). 


Djurdjam defines the term milk thus: "It is a legal 
relationship (ittisal sharH) between a person (insan) and 
a thing (shay 1 ') which allows that pera 

d the e 

r the 

1 jurists, the right of ownership 
became confused with the thing which is its object. 
For them, ownership is not a right (hakk) but a piece 
of property (mat) which has become ownership. More- 
over, milk is so typically a material thing forming part 
of a person's patrimony that the question arose 
whether milk could have as its object an immaterial 
thing. The difficulty arises in effect from the fact that 
in Islamic law, a piece of property can only be cor- 
poreal and material, and a thing which is not con- 
sidered to be a piece of property cannot be the object 
of an act of disposition. This is the reason why claims 
are not transmissible. By a kind of legal fiction, cer- 
tain departures from this principle are admitted in 
practice. Hanafi law, for example, allows ownership 
of a tenure. On the other hand, the term milk is some- 
times applied to an obligation (dayn [q.v. in Suppl.]). 
In any case, the ideal of ownership (milk) 
predominates over that of obligation (dayn), and in 

obligation is reduced to a kind of ownership whose 
object is a piece of property taken in a figurative sense 
(mil hukmt). 

Bibliography: Chafik Chehata, Etudes de droit 

musulman, Paris 1973, DjurdjanT, Ta'nfal, 100; 

MawardT, Adab al-kadi, i, 229 no. 340. 

(A.M. Delcambre) 

MHXA(a.), religion, sect. 

Although the Arab philologists claim this term as a 
native Arabic word (cf. Noldeke, in ZDMG, lvii 
[1903], 413), their explanations are so farfetched as to 

Hebrew and Jewish and Christian Aramaic milla, 
Syriac melltd "utterance, word", translating the 
Greek logos. It does not seem to have any pre-Islamic 
attestations, hence may have been a borrowing by 
Muhammad himself. In the Kur'an, it always i 

ehgion . 

s fiftee 

g thre 

:s for the heathen religions (VII, 86-7/88-9; XIV, 
16; XVIII, 19/20), once for the religion of the Chris- 
tians and Jews (II, 14/15) and twice for the religion of 
former prophets (XIV, 6, and ? XXXVIII, 6/7). The 
word acquired a special significance in the Medinan 
period, in which the Kur'an speaks no fewer than 
eight times of the "religion of Abraham", the millat 
Ibrahim [see ibrahim] (II, 124/130, 129/135; III, 
89/95; IV, 124/125; VI, 162/161; XII, 38; XVI, 
124/123; XXII, 77/78). Islamic literature follows this 
Kur'anic usage, but the word is not in frequent use. 
With the article, al-milla means the true religion 
revealed by Muhammad and is occasionally used 
elliptically for ahl al-milla, the followers of the Islamic 
religion (al-Tabarl, iii, 813, 15, 883, 4), just as its 
opposite al-dhimma is an abbreviation for ahl al- 
dhimma, the non-Muslims who are under the protec- 
tion of Islam; e.g., Ibn Sa c d, iii/1, 238, 21; cf. also the 
derivative milli opposed to dhimmi, client (al-Bayhakl, 
K. al-Mahasin, ed. Schwally, 121). 

In more recent and modern Arabic, milla still 
means "religion, confession, religious community", 
although the word is largely obsolete; but in Persian 
and Turkish, it has undergone semantic change. In 
modern Persian, millat means "people, nation", and 
the adjective from it, milli, means "national". In 
Ottoman Turkish, millet [q.v.] became a technical 
term and came latterly to denote the internally- 
autonomous religious groups within the Ottoman 

empire (Jews, Armenians, Greek Orthodox, etc.); but 
in 20th century Turkish it has come rather to mean (as 
in Persian) "nation, people", with milli meaning 
"national", milliyet "nationality" and milliyetci 

Bibliography: Tabart, Glossarium, p. CDXC; 
Snouck Hurgronje, Het Mekkaansche Feest, Leiden 
1880, 30 ff. ; T.P. Hughes, A dictionary of Islam, Lon- 
don 1885, 248-9: Th. Noldeke, Orientalische Skizzen, 
Berlin 1892, 40, Eng, tr. Sketches from eastern history, 
London 1892, 38; A.Jeffery, The foreign vocabulary of 
the Qur'an, Baroda 1938, 268-9; B. Lewis, The 
political language of Islam, Chicago and London 1988, 
38-9, 41-2, 131-2 n. 27. See also al-milal wa 'l- 
nihal. (F. Buhl [-C.E, Bosworth]) 

MILLET (Tkish. rendering of A. milla [q.v.]) 

used in the Ottoman empire concurrently until the 
Tanzimat period and afterwards. 

(i) Religion, confession, rite. In the Kur'an, 
milla is largely identical with din and in fact only to be 
translated with "religion" (R. Paret, Der Koran. Kom- 
mentar und Konkordanz, 30-1) The term occurs here 
most Irequently as the millat Ibrahim, "the religion of 
Abraham", l e "the only true, monotheistic 
religion" and less frequently milla refers to the 
religion ol the heathens, only rarely does it indicate 
the Christian and Jewish religions (in contrast with 
the confession ol Muhammad, 120) For lurther 

the translation of milla as "congregation, people, 

Whenever al-milla (with the article) indicates "the 
followers of the religion (of Muhammad)" (e.g. al- 
Tabari, iii, 813, 883), it is used as an ellipse for ahl al- 
milla [cf. milla]. Documentary evidence for this is 
found in a decree of TalaY, a vizier of the Fatimid 
caliph al-Fa 5 iz, dated 593/1158, al-milla wa 'l-dkimma 
stands here for "Muslims and non-Muslims" (S.M. 
Stern, Fatimid decrees, 76 ff.). Milla/ millet/ millat in the 

still recorded in the 19th century. The term appears 
here primarily in the language of official documents, 
such as those of the Ottoman empire and neighbour- 
ing Muslim states, including Mamluk Egypt and 
Safawid Persia, and in particular, when they are 
intended for (prominent) Christians (and occasionally 
Jews). Such documents are not necessarily limited to 
the international correspondence between states; they 
can also originate from internal administration. For 
example, a letter of Ka'it Bay to the Doge Nicolo 
Trono, dated 10 Sha c ban 877/10 January 1473, is 
addressed to the "Glory of the Christian religion" 
(madid al-milla al-masihiyya), an expression which, in 
the contemporary Venetian translation, is rendered 
by "Honor de la fedt de christiani" (J Wansbrough, 
in BSOAS xxiv/2 [1961] 204 5) A permit for the 
Carmelites ol Isfahan of 1052/1642 issued by Shah 
c Abbas II speaks of the Pope as Chiel and leader of 
the followers of the Christian religion (mukaddam wa 
muktada yi tabi c an i millat i masihiyya) (H Busse Unler- 
suchungen ^um islamischen Kanzleiwesen, 191) In a 
hukum containing the answer to a petition of the 
mbul and dated 1108/1697 the 

:s (whos 

,ted) a 

abandoned their old customs and to be now ready to 
follow the papal rite (kadimi aymlerm lerk idub papa 
milletme mutabaat eylediklerinden) (A. Refik [Altmay], 

Istanbul hayati 1100-1200, 21-2, no. 34). Parallel to 
papa milled, the same text uses firenk medhhebi with the 
meaning of "Latin rite". Likewise, millat and madhhab 
are used analogously in an undated charter which 
Shah Sultan Husayn adressed to Pope Innocent XII 
(ca. 1113/1701-2, see L. Fekete, Einfuhrung in die per- 
sische Palaographie, 543-8, no. 99). The formula in 
millat-i bayda> is here found in parallel to the expres- 
sion in madhhab-i gharra 1 ', both meaning something like 
"this shining, radiating confession". Fekete-Lorenz's 
translation of millat by "people" does not seem accep- 
table, because the meaning "religion, confession" 
(see Wansbrough, quoted above) can also be based on 
lexicographical sources of approximately the same 
period. Bernardo di Parici, for example, in his 
Vocabulario Italiani-Turchesco (1665) renders millet with 
"religione", and millel-il-mesihiyye with "religione di 
Christo" (this was followed by Meninski and other 
lexicographers, see B. Braude, Foundation myths, 72). 
The formula kudwet umera' el-millet el-mesihiyye, often 
used and enlarged upon in Ottoman chancelleries at 
the reception of high-ranking Christians, is translated 
by Zenker with "Model of the chiefs of the Christian 
religion" (J. Zenker, Tiirkisch-Arabisch-Persisches Hand- 
worlerbuch, 876). Examples of early usage of this for- 
mula are found in a firman and a nishdn of BayazTd II, 
both of 891/1486, for Mara Brankovic, stepmother of 
Mehemmed II (see Boskov, in Hilandarski zbornik, v, 
208 f.; however, he interprets millet as "people"). 
Millet-i mesihiyye in the meaning of "Christian creed" 
is still part of the formula used in a berat for the 
metropolitan bishop of Manastfr (Bitola), Gerasimos, 
of the year 1249/1833 (see P. Dzambazovski (ed.), 
Turski dokumenti za makedonskata istorija V (1827-1839), 
71, no. 230). It should be pointed out here that the 
expression millet-i mesihiyye is also the equivalent of 

originating from Ottoman chancelleries. A document 
to be dated before November 1650, issued by Islam 
Giray III, ruler of the Crimean Tatars, and addressed 
to the Polish king, mentions John Casimir IV as "the 
noble ruler of the entire Christianity" (barca millet-i 
mesihiyyenin ulugh padishahi; T. Gemil (ed.), Relatiile 
Tdrilor Romdne cu Poarta Otomam in Documente Turcesti 
1601-1712, Bucharest 1984, 274-5, no. 123). 

same confession or the same rite' ' , the question 
whether those who are designated in this way are 
(Ottoman) dhimmis is important in view of the discus- 
sion around the so-called millet system. For, on the 
one hand, this system is traditionally understood as 
being the structural framework which was destined 
specifically for the Ottoman dhimmis whereas, on the 
other hand, it has been maintained that millet, in one 
of its traditional meanings, indicated "the Christians 
outside the (Ottoman) empire", and that it was not 
typically used to indicate the ahl al-dhimma specifically 
until the 19th century (Braude, Foundation myths, 73- 
3). It has rightly been pointed out that millet may very 
well also denote the Islamic religious community. But 
it is not correct that, before the beginning of the 
period of reform, the notion has been used in 
Ottoman-Turkish sources mainly in the meaning of 
"the community of Muslims" (Braude, op. cit., 79). 
The documents from the miihimme defterleri of the 
diwan-i humdyun, published by RefTk in Istanbul hayati, 
which are informative for the Ottoman practice, 
rather bear witness of the opposite. Wherever the 
term millet is used here in the meaning of "religious 
or confessional community" (at least fifty times in 
eleven documents dating from before the beginning of 

the Tanzimat: 1689-1785, nos. 34, 194, 223, 224, 249, 
264, 265, 268; 1786-1839, nos. 20-2), it refers 
invariably to non-Muslim subjects of the Ottoman 
empire (Greek Orthodox, Armenian and Roman 
Catholic Christians as well as Jews with the status of 
dhimmis). A few examples may illustrate this. In the 
above-mentioned document of 1108/1697, the 
activities of Latin missionaries are described as 
follows: "they travelled from province to province 
and instigated the Greek Orthodox, Armenian and 
(many) other Christian religious communities to give 
up their former practices and to submit to the Latin 
rite, while sowing discord and trying to divert them 
from the right path" (vilayet vilayet geziib gerek Rum ve 
gerek Ermeni ve gerek sair milleti nasarayi idlal ve if sad He 
kadimi ayinlerinden dondiirub firenk mezhebine miitabaat 
itdirub). The formulation used here proves that, at 
least from the end of the 17th century onwards, the 
Orthodox and Armenian religious communities, com- 
prising Ottoman dhimmis, were known as millets to the 
Ottoman authorities in the capital of the empire, or at 
least to the inditer of the document. Even if this docu- 
ment does not indeed give information about whether 
and to what extent such a millet was already under- 
religious community holding the s 

it the ei 


ig the st 

protection everywhere), yet such a claim is already 
clearly expressed here by part of the members of the 
millet, namely the Armenians of Istanbul, who request 
the same position, and consequently the same treat- 
ment, as was given to their co-religionists in the pro- 
vince of Tarabulus al-Sham. 

In another document from the miihimme defterleri, 
dated 1591/746, the millet-i Ermeniyan is already 
designated as an empire-wide religious community 
(memaliki mahrusede sakin milleti Ermeniyan) (see Refik, 
op. cit., 160 ff., no. 194). In the same miihimme 
defterleri, the Greek-Orthodox millet is mentioned as 
millet-i Rum for the first time in a document of 
1170/1757 (ibid., 183 ff., no. 223; other examples of 
millet-i Rum/Rum milleti in 184 ff., no. 224, 205-6, no. 
249, 219 ff., no. 264, 227 ff., no. 268), while the 
notion Yahud milleti (religious community of the Jews) 
and Katolik milleti (religious community of the Roman 
Catholics) occurs here only in 1255/1839 (Refik, 31 
ff., no. 22). Towards the end of the 18th century, the 
Ottoman fiscal administration even used the collective 
notion of "the three (non-Muslim) religious com- 
munities" (milel-i thelithe; see Y. Cezar, Osmanlt 
maliyesinde bunahm ve degisim dbnemi, 185). Evidently, 
Muslims cannot be meant here, for the subject is the 
dues on alcoholic beverages (zedjriyye). The term thus 
can refer only to the Orthodox, Armenian and Jewish 
millets, and should be considered as an indication that 
the notion millet had become an accepted element in 
the administrative language of the central 
bureaucracy to indicate the non-Muslim religious 
communities of the Ottoman empire before the 19th 
century had even begun. 

On the analogy of the above-mentioned com- 
munities of Ottoman dhimmis of the same confession, 
musta^mina of the same nationality, living in the 
Ottoman empire under the Capitulation Treaties, 
have apparently been indicated as both a ta?ife and a 
millet [see imtiyazat]. Even non-Muslim religious 
communities who did not live (or no longer lived) 
under Islamic rule, such as the Kipcak Turkish- 
speaking Armenians in the kingdom of Poland, occa- 
sionally indicated themselves and others as millets (or 
as laHfes) (J. Deny, L'Armeno-Coman et les 
"Ephemerides" de Kamiemec 1604-1613, 62: Ermeni 

mivlati [for Ermenl millati]). They also indicated 
"nations" or "peoples" with these terms, e.g. Olakh 
millati "la nation valaque (ici: moldave)" (ibid. , cf. 
Nomspropres, 85 ff.: Alans, Syrian Christians, Abyssi- 
nians, Hellenes, Indians, Huns, Goths, Medes, Per- 
sians and Egyptians were all designated as millets,). 
This use of the term may have been influenced by the 
notion of nationes in the Middle Ages, if millet is not 
simply the translation of natio. This observation leads 
to a third use of the term. 

(3) Millet in the meaning of ' ' [sovereignf 

documents of the period between 1652 and 1687, the 
so-called Transylvanian "three nations", called 
Madjar, Sigel and Saz in the Turkish sources, are 
indicated as the tic millet. Here are meant "nations" 
as the term is used in the context of estates whose 
delegates, together with the ruler of Transylvania, 

(Erdel \q.v.\ in Turkish) of the Ottoman empire, until 
it was officially annexed by the Ottomans in 1691 
(Gemil (ed.), op. cil. , 40, and nos. 126, 175, 178). 
Millet in the meaning of "peoples under direct Islamic 
rule" occurs in translations from western languages. 
In the Turkish translation of a document issued by 
George Rajozcy I, Prince of Transylvania, dated 4 
Radjab 1046/2 December 1636, the peoples 
("Nations") of the Ottoman empire are designated as 
'Othmanlu milletlen (ibid. , 233, no. 101). In the Turkish 
text of the Treaty of Kucuk Kaynarca (1774), the 
European nations (i.e. England and France) which 

>vided v 


sionally designated as millets, art. xi of the Treaty in 
Ahmed Djewdet, Ta>rikh, 1st ed., i, 283). From the 
Islamic point of view, these states belong to the dar al- 
'larb [q. v. ] and thus the term millet means something 

like " 

eign n 

The rebellious Serbs who, as Ottoman re'dyd, had 
risen in armed revolt against Ottoman rule, were also 
considered as harbis (memleketleri ddr ul-harb we kenduleri 
harbi, mMandstirsidjilli, no. 82, fol. 27a, dated ewd^il-i 
Safer 1222/10-19 April 1807), because they had 
forfeited the protection which had been granted to 
them and lost their dhimmi status. Some years later, 
the Porte commented upon this by saying that the 
Serbs had claimed to form a "separate nation (bash- 
kadja bir millet) with Belgrade and the other fortresses 
and fortified places under their own control, with 
Kara Yorgi as chief of all of them" (S. Kemura, Prui 
Srpski Uslanak pod Karagjorgjem, Sarajevo 1332/1914, 
314). In the official correspondence with the Bosnian 
governors after the Peace of Bucharest (28 May 
1812), published in Kemura's work, the Serbs are 
indeed more often than not mentioned as "the Ser- 
bian nation" (sirb milleti) (ibid, 313-25), and it is 
repeatedly emphasised that one should try at any price 
to bring the Serbs back into the ra'-iyyet relationship. 
After this had been realised, the same documents, 
inasmuch as discernible, speak only of "Serbs" (sirblu 
or sirb tdHfesi), "Serbian rebels" (sirb c usdli) or "Ser- 

Serbs, the Porte began to speak of the rebellious 
Greeks of the Peloponnesus as "nation, group of 
people" (millet) only after it had become clear that the 
"treaty of protection" (dhimma) had to be considered 
as definitely retracted. In November 1827, one-and-a- 
half years after the fall of Missolonghi, representatives 
of the Porte indignantly stated that the Greeks "by 
having infringed upon the frontiers established by the 
ra^iyyet relation, finally had begun to call for (the status 
of an independent) group of people (millet)" (hadd-i 
raHyyeti tedj_dwuz He millet da^wasina cikub; Ahmed LutfT, 

Ta'rikh, i, 330) (quoted after the Ottoman text of the 
minutes of a confidential discussion between the Porte 
and the representatives of the great powers in the 
office of the Re>Is Efendi on 5 Djumada I 1243/24 
November 1827. This text contains important infor- 
mation about the way the Ottomans understood millet 
before the beginning of the Tanzimat). An undated 
document from the sidplls of Manastfr (ca. Sha'ban 
1243/February 1828) says that both England and 
France, in collaboration with Russia, "would try to 
tear the people of the Greeks (of the Peloponnesus) 
completely away from their raHyyet relation (with the 
Porte) and to establish them as an independent 
power" (Rum milletini kulliyyen raHyyetden cikarub 
hukumet-i mustakilla suretine konmak uzere; no. 97, fol. 81- 
b). Yet, until long afterwards it was being argued on 
the Ottoman side that "all the Greeks (including those 
of the Peloponnesus) form one (single) millet, because 
and their patriarch are one and the 

" (Run 


r oldighim 

i; Ahm. 

=r (2) and (3) at 

332). Here, in the uniform gam 

irreconcilably opposed to one a 

Some general remarks may follow the expositions 
given above of the three basic meanings of millet until 
the beginning of the Tanzimat. From the apparent 
"lack of a general administrative term" for the non- 
Muslim religious communities of the Ottoman empire 
(Braude, op. cit. , 74), it has been concluded — though 
in unawareness of the evidence given above under 
(2)— "that there was no overall ; 

with i 

o-called i 


but rather it was a set of arrangements, largely social, 
with considerable variation over time and place" 
(ibid.). Although the premise for such a conclusion 

the Ottoman empire)", was by no means used 
exclusively or at all consistently before the 19th cen- 

where the notion occurs more or less regularly. So far, 
this regular use can only be demonstrated in some 
central organisations of the Ottoman empire, but not 
in provincial or local administrations, tdHje, for exam- 
ple, being a frequently used alternative in the latter. 
Occasionally, millet and tdHfe are found in the same 

ing, or also in combination: millet-i mezbure tfifesi (see 
RefTk, op. cit., no. 194). Sometimes, in writings of the 
same date, the reHs til-ktittdb used millet, the Grand 
Vizier on the other hand taHfe (ibid. , no. 268). It is in 
any case noteworthy that, even when the documents 
of the sultan do not shrink from using the notion millet 
(see the charters published by Kemura, mentioned 
above), the term is missing in the corresponding 
documents issued by governors and kadis. This state 
of affairs reflects certainly more than just the inade- 
quate stage of research. It rather looks as if the 
individual religious communities, which, on the local 
level, had to live under conditions which were varying 
time, in the perspective of the 

il gover: 

juridical comm 

nities which, under the leadership o 

their (ecclesiasti 

cal) heads, ideally had an empire-wid 

period as yet to be determined mor 

closely, the tern 

i millet, probably current in the offic 

of the real's ul-kii 

tab in the first place, was used for thi 


viewpoint of the central authorities. It is perhaps per- 
mitted to interpret the material provided by Refik's 
Istanbul hayati in such a way that the term millet was 
given the above-mentioned meaning only after the 
religious regulations of the empire became increas- 
ingly threatened by the intensified missionary 
activities from the West in the 17th century. The con- 
sequence of the latter may have been that the central 
government, as the guarantor of the existing order, 
saw itself more and more forced to interfere in exten- 
sive parts of the empire in order to protect the tradi- 
tional religious communities (for the missions of 
Jesuits, Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans in the 
Ottoman empire, and the attitude of the Porte 
towards them, see S, Runciman, The Great Church in 
captivity, 226-319). It is conceivable that the idea of 
describing as empire-wide millets traditional religious 
communities based on identity of confession may only 
have emerged in the course of the development of this 
kind of empire-wide "religious policy" of the Porte. 
Bibliography: An extremely informative collec- 
tion of sources for the use of the notion millet in 
Ottoman administration is Ahmed Reffk 
[AltinayJ's work in 4 vols, on life in Istanbul: vol. 
i. On altinci ^asirda Istanbul hayati (1553-1591), Istan- 
bul 1917; vol. ii: Hicri on birina asuda Istanbul hayati 
(1000-1100), Istanbul 1931; vol. iii: Hicri on ikinci 
asirda Istanbul hayati (1 100-1 200), Istanbul 1930; vol. 
iv: Hicri on uciincii asirda Istanbul hayati (1200-1255), 
Istanbul 1932 (reprint of all four volumes, Enderun 
Kitabevi, Istanbul 1988, under slightly different 
titles). The most comprehensive and critical discus- 
are found in B. Braude and B. Lewis (eds.), Chris- 
tians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire. The functioning of 
a plural society, New York- London 1982, in par- 
ticular, Braude, Foundation myths of the Millet system, 
i, 69-88, containing the severest criticism so far of 
the traditional concept of the Ottoman millet system. 
From the point of view of legal history, serious 
doubts of the traditional interpretation, overlooked 
in the above-mentioned discussions, had already 
been formulated by H. Scheel, Die slaals-rechtliche 
Stellung der okumenischen Kirchenfursten in der alien 
Tiirkei, in Abh. Pr. Ak. Wiss. (1942), Phil. -hist. Kl., 
no. 9, Berlin 1943. (M.O.H. Ursinus) 

MILYANA, Miliana, atown of Algeria, situated 
56 miles/91 km to the southwest of Algiers, It is built 
on a raised plateau at an altitude of 2,361 ft./720 m. 
on the side of the Zakkar GharbT (5,179 ft./l,579 m.) 
and dominates to the east and south the valley in 
which an important river, the Chelif, flows and drives 
numerous mills. The comparative freshness of the 
temperature and the abundance of flowing streams 
support a rich vegetation. The town itself is sur- 
rounded by gardens and orchards cultivated by the 
indigenous people, whilst European colonists raised 
on the nearby slopes vines with notable products. 
Miliana is an agricultural and market centre for the 
peoples, mainly Berber, who occupy the Zakkar 
massif, and has acquired a certain importance as a 
centre for mineral exploitation, sc. for the iron 
extracted near to the town itself. Moreover, it is a cen- 
tre of pilgrimage for the Muslims of the region and 
even for those of the Mitidja and Algiers, who come 
to visit the tomb of Sidi Ahmad b. Yusuf, a marabout 
who lived at the beginning of the 8th/ 1 4th century and 
who was famed for his satirical pronouncements about 
the towns of Algeria. In ca. 1930, the town had some 
12,000 inhabitants. 

Miliana has grown up on the site of the Roman 
town of Zucchabar, whose ruins were still visible in 

the time of al-Bakri and of which some traces, noted 
by Schaw in the 18th century, still existed at the time 
of the French occupation. The actual town dates from 
the 4th/10th century, its foundation being attributed 
by al-Bakri to the SanhadjI chief ZTri b. Manad, who 
assigned it to his son Buluggin. The same author 
mentions it as a prosperous, well-populated town, 
well-supplied with foodstuffs and with a well- 
frequented market. Al-IdrisI records the many 
streams there and the fertility of the surrounding 
countryside. After the fall of the Hammadid dynasty, 
Miliana passed into the power of the Almohads, was 
temporarily occupied by 'AIT and Yahya b. Ghaniya. 
and was then, for a century and a half, disputed by the 
Hafsids, the c Abd al-Wadids of Tlemcen and the 

In the 9th/15th century, Miliana, together with 
Medea and Tenes, formed part of an independent 
principality founded by a Zayyanid pretender; it 
became once again dependent on Tlemcen when this 
' rought together 


ited prir 



Africanus states that the inhabitants enjoyed a 
tually complete independence. But they lost this when 
the Turks arrived, for c Arudj [q.v.] seized control of 
Miliana soon after the capture of Algiers. Under the 
Turkish rule, the town came within the dar al-sultan, 
sc. the territory directly administered by the Pasha of 
Algiers. Various Turkish officials resided there, one 
of them having the job of going round the tribes each 
year and extracting taxation with the aid of troops 
specially sent for this task from the capital. After the 
capture of Algiers by the French, Miliana was for a 
while independent, and was then occupied in 1834 by 
c Abd al-Kadir [q.v.], who installed there a bey. The 
French in turn took control of the town on 8 June 
1840, but were closely blockaded within it by the 
amir's partisans until 1842, when operations con- 
ducted in the western part of the Mitidja, in the 
district of Medea and in the Chelif valley, assured 
freedom of communications. 

Bibliography: Bakri, Afrique septentrionale , 
61/127; K. al-Islibsdr, ed. S.Z. Abdul-Hamid, Alex- 
andria 1958, 171; Idrisi, Opus geographicum, 253; Ibn 
Hawkal, tr. Kramers and Wiet, 88; Marasid al- 
ittilti\ iii, 147; Yakut, iv, 639; Leo Africanus, Des- 
cription de I Afrique, tr. Epaulard, 345; Julienne, Les 
R'ira de la subdivision de Miliana, in RAfr. (1857); 
Lebrun, Miliana, in ibid. (1864); Schaw, Travels, 
Oxford 1738, 62; Trumelet, LAlgerie legendaire, 
Algiers 1892, 399. (G. Yver) 

MIM, the twenty-fourth letter of the Arabic 
alphabet, transliterated as m, with the numerical 
value of 40 according to the eastern order [see 

Definition: occlusive, bilabial, voiced, nasal (Can- 
tineau, Etudes, 28; Fleisch, Traite, i, 58). For 
Slbawayh (Kitab, ii, 454), its place of articulation is 
situated between the lips; it is an "open sound" 
(maajhur), emitted from a base in the mouth and the 
nasal cavities (khayishim), where nasalisation (ghunna) 
is produced; it is also a "hard sound" (shadid), by 
means of which the sound (sawt) is transmitted. As for 
al-Khalll, he calls this letter "occlusive" (mutbik), 
because it closes the mouth when one articulates it (A'. 
al- c Ayn, 65). For Ibn SIna, the place of articulation of 

region, so that the air, when it passes through the 
nasal cavities and the open space there, produces a 
humming sound (dawi) (Roman, Elude, i, 263). 

In phonology, the phoneme m is defined by the 
oppositions m-f m-b and m-n (Cantineau, 167). 


in a word and the initial of the following one, one 
finds either the assimilation -mb>bb or its disap- 
pearance (ikhfai) leaving just nasalisation. Before a 

In the neighbourhood of a nasal n or m of the bilabial 
w, one finds the dissimilation m>b (Cantineau, 29- 
30; Fleisch, i, 74-, 80, 94-). 

Bibliography: J. Cantineau. Etudes He linguistique 

; H. 

/ de la m 
1983; K 


le la Kmr 


wish, Baghdad 1967; Slbawayh, al-Kitib, ed. 

Den-nbourg, Paris 1889. (G. Troupkau 

MIME, MIMIC [see hikavaj. 

MIMIYYA [see muhamhadh va|. 

MINA, later often pronounced Mima, a place 
the hills east of Mecca on the road from it 
c Arafa [q.v.\. The distance between the two is gi 
bv al-MukaddasI as one farmkh, while Wavell call 

Tiiles. Min 

r S the « 

rafa is 

s long according to Burckhardt, 
surrounded by steep barren granite cliffs. On the 
north side rises a hill called Thablr. Travellers from 
Mecca come down into the valley by a hill path with 
steps in it; this is the c Akaba [q.v.] which became 
famous in connection with Muhammad's negotiations 
with the Medinans. The town consists of stone houses 
of fair size which form two long streets. Close beside 
the c Akaba is a rudely-hewn short pillar leaning 

" c Akaba dj_amra" , at which the pilgrims east stones 
[see djamra]. A little to the east in the middle of the 
street is the "middle djamra" also marked by a pillar 
and lastly at a similar distance the third (the so-called 
"first djamra' '). As one approaches the east end of the 
valley, there is on the right of the road a square 
mosque surrounded by a wall, the Masdjid al-Khayf. 
which was rebuilt by Salah al-DIn and in 874/1467 
reconstructed by the Mamluk Sultan Ka'it Bey. 

nade with three rows of pillars, but there is none on 
the other sides. It was different earlier, for lbn Rusta 
(ca. 300/912-13) tells us that the mosque had 168 


only 7( 

north side of the wall is pierced by several doors. In 
the centre of the court of the mosque is a little domed 
building with a minaret built over a fountain. There 
is another dome over the colonnade on the west 


)f Min 

ery gre. 

, noted already by al-Mukaddasi 
the quiet and empty streets of the greater part of the 
year and the tremendous throng and bustle of the 
pilgrimage month when, as Wavell says, half a million 
people with heavily laden beasts of burden hope to 
cover nine miles in the period between sunrise and 10 
a.m. Every spot in the valley is then covered with 
tents in which the pilgrims spend the night. Al- 
MukaddasI talks of line houses built of teak and stone 
(among them was a frequently-mentioned Dar al- 
Imara), and large stone buildings are still to be found 

at the pilgrimage to the more wealthy pilgrims and 

depopulation of the city has been a subject for discus- 
sion among the legists, for some held that this cir- 
cumstance enables Mina and Mecca to be regarded as 

manent settlement of the town, which is also true of 
other places on the pilgrims' route, namely the 
incredible filth and dreadful stench which is caused by 
such masses of humanity at the Hadjdj. Complaints 
are made even of the uncleanness of the Masdjid al- 
Khayf, and at Mina there are further the decompos- 

The Hadjdj ceremonies in Mina date back to the 
old pagan period [see hadjdj], for Muhammad, as 
usual in taking over old customs, contented himself 
with cutting out the too obviously pagan elements, the 
result being that we can no longer reconstruct the old 
forms with certainty. The old poets make only passing 
references to them [see djamra]; that they were 

e Musli 

t, for t 

from an interesting passage in the Medinan poet 
Kays b. Khatlm (ed. Kowalski, no. 4, pp. i ff.), where 
there is a reference to the "three days in Mina" and 
where we further learn that the festival held there 
offered an occasion for entering into and carrying on 
love-affairs. The stone throwing is certainly very 
ient; its significance is quite unintelligible in 
m, although it is doubtful if there were already 
;e heaps of stones in the pre-Islamic period [see 
mra]. It is also clear that 
formed the conclusion of the Hadjdj e< 
times. Muhammad, however, made 
alterations here, for he inserted a visit to Mecca before 

i in Min 

:reby tti 

mony firsi 
it the old el 


;, for I 

: Hadjdj « 


not in Mecca but, as before, in Mina, to which the 
pilgrims return after the digression to Mecca. A sur- 
vival of the pagan period probably exists in the 
slaughtering place preferred by the majority on the 
southern slopes of Thablr "the place of sacrifice of the 
ram" (cf. sura XXXVII, 101 ff.), as its association 
with the story of Abraham probably enabled an old 
pagan sacred spot to be adopted into Islam. From 
Burton's description, it is a square rocky platform 
reached by a few steps. Muhammad himself did not 
directly forbid the use of the pagan place of slaughtei 

Mina i 

t of it; 


that all 

if sacrifice: a clever procedure which 
he also followed at c Arafat and Muzdalifa. 

According to the law of Islam, pilgrims who arrive 
in Mecca on 8 Dhu 'l-Hidjdja should leave this town 
in time to be able to perform the mid-day salat in 
Mina and remain there till sunrise on the 9th and only 
then go on to c Arafat. The majority, however, do not 
do this but go on the 8th straight on to c Arafat where 

dalifa [q.v.], they go before sunrise on the 10th to 
Mina to celebrate the day of the great sacrifice {yawm 
al-adhd or yawm al-rtahr) (in contrast to the pre-Islamic 
practice, which was to start only after sunrise). Here 
the concluding rites are gone through, the slaughter- 
ing, the clipping of the hair and nails and the lapida- 
tion. There is not complete agreement on the order of 
these ceremonies, which one'tradition (al-Wakidl, tr. 
Wellhausen, 429) makes Muhammad declare to be 
quite irrelevant. The modification of the stone throw- 
ing is noteworthy, for on the day of sacrifice it is only 
done at the c Akaba heap, while on the three following 
days each pilgrim daily throws seven little stones on all 
three heaps (see Burton, ii, 205). The conclusion of 
the whole pilgrimage is the three Mina or tashrik days, 
the 1 1th, 12th and 13th Dhu 'l-Hid j d j a [see tashrik]. 
They are days of rejoicing which are celebrated with 
great jubilation, illumination and the firing of shots. 
All the pilgrims, however, do not wait for these three 


f Islan 



Bibliography: Wakidl, tr. Wellhausen, 423, 
426, 428; Ibn Sa c d, ed. Sachau, i/2, 125; Mukad- 
dasl, 76; Ibn Rusta, 55; Yakut, Mu'-djam, iv, 642-3; 
J.L. Burckhardt, Reisen in Arabien, 415-31; Sir 
Richard Burton, A pilgrimage to al-Madinah and 
Meccah, Memorial Edition 1893, ii, 203-22; 
Batanuni, al-Rihla al-Hidjaziyya, Cairo 1329; A.J.B. 
Wavell, A modern Pilgrim, 153-71; J. Wellhausen, 
Reste arabischen Heidentums 1 , 80, 88; C. Snouck 
Hurgronje, Het Mekkaansche Feest, Leiden 1880, esp. 
158-67; T. Juynboll, Handbuch, 151-7; M. 
Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Le pelerinage a la Mekke, 
1923, 238-95; see the Bibl. to djamra, and add: 
M.T. Houtsma, Het Skopelisme en het Steenwerpen te 
Mind, in Versl. Med. Ak. Amst., Afd. Letterkunde, 4. 
Reeks, vi, 104-217; V. Chauvin, Lejet de pierres el le 
pelerinage de Mecque, in Annates de VAcad. d'Archeologie 
de Belgique, ser. 5, vol. iv, 272 ff.; A.J. Wensinck, 
Handbook of early Muh. tradition, s.v. where also are 
given the passages from hadith referring to the pro- 
hibition of fasting during the days of Mini, and to 
the order to stay in Mina during the "nights of 
Mini"; Snouck Hurgronje, Mekka in the latter part of 
the 19th century, London 1931, 74-5, 96, 241. 

(Fr. Buhl) 
MINA 5 (a.), port, harbour, 
(a) The term. Arabic mind'has been little used in either 
Persian or Turkish, although it is routinely listed in 
their dictionaries (thus J.W. Redhouse, A Turkish and 
English lexicon, 205; F. Steingass, A comprehensive 
Persian-English dictionary, 1364; C A1I-Akbar Dihkhuda. 
Lughat-ndma, Tehran n.d., s.v.). 

In Persian, the standard term is bandar [q.v.], in 
Turkish, liman. Bandar was widely used in Ottoman 
Turkish and, in later centuries, also in Arabic (thus 
Ibn Battuta, iv, 89, in reference to Kalikut, has ihdd 
Madjid: bandar Dj udda. 


ts XV et XVI' s, 

arabes et porlugais des XV et XVI' siecles, Paris. 1921-23, 
i, fol. 78b; S. de Sacy, Chrestomathie arabe, Paris 1827, 
iii, 132, in a late 18th century reference: bandar 

Mini' itself is attested since the 3rd/9th century (al- 
Baladhurl, Futuh, ed. Muna djdj id. 151; al-Ya c kubi, 
Bulddn, 327), and appears to be of non-Arabic origin, 
derived either from the accusative of the Greek limen 
(Noldeke), or from ancient Egyptian; if the latter is 
the case, the word would have entered Arabic either 
via the above-mentioned limena, or directly through 
Egyptian's Coptic stage (M. Lubetski, The early bronze 
age origin of Greek and Hebrew liman, ' 'Harbor ", in JQR , 
n.s., lxix/3 [Jan. 1979], 158-68). The non-Arabic 
origin of mind' is also suggested by the hesitancy of 
classical Arab authors whether to treat this word as a 
masculine or a feminine, and whether to write it with 
or without a hamza. Moreover, a passage in Nasir-i 
Khusraw's Safar-ndma, ed. Wazlnpur, Tehran 
1350/1971, 20, shows that the term was new to this 
author otherwise familiar with Arabic, and that he 
understood it to denote a special type of harbour along 
the Syro-Palestinian coast, the region where the bor- 
rowing is believed to have taken place. 

Mina' has become the comprehensive term for both 
nuances expressed by the English words "port" and 
"harbour", at the expense of the classical terms 
marsa, furda and marfa', of which the first two were 
i in the early centuries and expressed the two 

well i 

xring r 

specifically to the maritime aspect implied by "har- 
bour", furda to the economic function implied by 
"port" (thus Abu '1-Fida\ Takwtm, 248: Bayrutfurdat 
Dimashk ... wa-lahd mind' djalil = "Beirut is the port of 

Damascus, and has a fine harbour". Moreover, marsa 
is attested in the Kur'an, XI, 41 , in the passage Irkabu 
fihd bismi 'l-Ldhi madjriha wa-mursdha = "Embark in it! 
In God's name shall be its course and its berthing." 
In contrast to this relative proliferation and dif- 
ferentiation in Arabic, bandar remained the only 
widely used term in Persian; on the other hand, 
Ottoman Turkish, in addition to liman and bandar, 
also used iskele, a Mediterranean word that has been 
used both in the general sense and for designating the 
specific landing place rendered in English as pier, 
wharf or quay (thus Mehemmed II orders Yunus to 
go to the iskele [of Istanbul] and sail with ten ships to 
the limun of Enoz (Enez); cf. c Ashik-Pasha-zade, 
Ta'rikh, ed. F. Giese, 135-6; see also A. Tietze and A. 
Kahane, The lingua franca in the Levant, Urbana 1958, 
no. 801 {liman), no. 841 {iskele); the broader meaning 
approached the connotation of Arabic furda, as in 
Ewliya Celebi, Seydhat-ndme, ix, 803, Mekke'nin is'kelesi 
Diiddedir "Djudda is the port of Mecca." 
(b) Historical survey. A general distinction can be made 
between the Islamic ports of the Mediterranean basin 
and those on the other side of the isthmus of Suez. 
The harbours of the Mediterranean often displayed a 
sophisticated building technique, a bequest of their 
Phoenician or Roman past: those of the Syro- 
Palestinian coast, the prime examples, found their 
counterparts in Carthage and Izmir. The distinctive 
feature was that of an inner harbour, partly man- 
made, and an outer one, as a rule a natural harbour 
formed by a bay or just an adequate anchorage. The 
inner harbour was symptomatic of the military 
dimension of the Mediterranean where ships had to be 
shielded not only from natural elements but also from 
enemy fleets. Inner harbours often had a special entry 
gate formed by guard-towers on either side; the 
entrance was further protected by a chain stretched at 
will, especially at night, between the two towers. In 
contrast, the ports south and east of Suez lacked such 
features and were as a rule natural bays or inlets, 
coastal or island anchorages, or river estuaries: 
Ubulla, SIraf, Suhar, Aden, Djudda, for example, 
although some of them did have fortifications protec- 
ting them from landward. This was due to a relative 
ith the Medite 

: in thos 

il the a 

of tl 

Europeans and Ottomans in the 16th a 

It is worth nothing that this dichotomy, which 
antedates Islam, was reinforced and received a special 
character due to the confrontational nature of the 
Islamic and Christian halves of the Mediterranean; 
Muslims displayed a lasting reluctance to frequent 
Christian ports as cargo shippers and traders, whereas 
Christians seldom suffered from reciprocal inhibitions 
(in this respect, afatwd given by afakth of Mahdiyya 
in 484-6/1091-3 is significant; see H.R. Idris, La 
Berberie orientate, 664). In eastern waters, on the other 
hand, no religious confrontation of such magnitude 
and nature occurred, and Arab and Persian Muslims 
kept sailing, chiefly as merchants, to India and East 
Africa. As a result, a number of harbours along the 
western coast of India became regular ports of call of 
these Muslims, some of whom proceeded further east 
to the ports of Malaya and Indonesia, a penetration 
that proved of capital importance for the eventual 
Islamisation of those regions. 

1 . The ports of Arabia. The ports of the Arabian 
peninsula — from c Uman in the east to those of Hidjaz 
in the west — were those from where the Arab sea- 
faring tradition had issued well before the appearance 
of Islam. It was at the same time an international 
tradition: Persians, Ethiopians, Indians had a share in 

it as well. Persian participation was the strongest; 
some of the basic Arabic maritime terminology is of 
Persian origin, and Persian was the language of one 
of the principal ports of c Uman in the 'Abbasid 
period, Suhar [q.v.]. To quote the 4th/10th century 
geographer al-Mukaddasi, "The language of this pro- 
vince (i.e. c Um5n) is Arabic except in Suhar, where 
they speak Persian; the majority of the people of 
c Adan and Djudda are Persians [too] but [now] they 
speak Arabic..." (96). The Arab mariners of Suhar 
and Maskat, as well as their companions from the 
ports of the southern coast, acquired a remarkable 
skill at exploiting the seasonal monsoon winds for 
voyages to India and East Africa. 

The ports of Arabia were connected by caravan 
routes with inland market towns such as Mecca, or by 
coastal shipping with ports in the Persian Gulf and the 
Red Sea. These market towns and ports in turn often 
functioned as relay posts for goods that ultimately 
reached the Mediterranean ports of the Syro- 
Palestinian coast and Egypt. At the height of the pros- 
perity of c Irak in the 'Abbasid period, however, the 
Persian Gulf ports rose proportionately in importance 
and some of the Orient trade passed directly to SIraf, 
Ubulla and Basra; at other times, Aden may have 
been bypassed by ships that proceeded directly to 
Djudda. However, both the Persian Gulf and the Red 
Sea were fraught with navigational problems and 
dangers different from those of the Indian Ocean, and 
it seems that except for the three centuries of c Abbasid 
which Baghdad " " 

mbled i 



outposts of Siraf and Ubulla, mi 
distance ocean traffic preferred t 
familiar termini along the co 
Hadramawt and Yemen. In the la 
Aden [see c adan] became the most 
shipment port for the Orient trade, t 
dria did for Mediterranean trade, 
linked by a combinati 

:o their 
t of this long- 
use the more 
t of 'Uman, 
r Middle Ages, 
Tiportant trans- 
act! like Alexan- 


, functi 


part of the transcontinental Silk Road. The heyday of 
Aden's supremacy coincided with the Fatimid, 
Ayyubid and Mamluk periods, but the port stood out 
already in the early c Abbasid centuries. Thus al- 
Ya'kubl (319) mentions it as "the port of the China 
[traffic] ships"; al-Mukaddasi (97), describing its 
trade, speaks of the wealth of its merchants much as 
other contemporary authors do of the wealth of those 
of Siraf [q.v.], stating that "the wealth of its mer- 
chants has become proverbial." Aden may have been 
the most international of Arab ports. Its principal 
direct partners overseas were the ports of India, and 
Indians as well as Egyptians seem to have formed a 
sizeable proportion of Aden merchants, judging from 
Ibn Battuta's description (ii, 177-9). Another impor- 
tant segment of the business people of Aden in this 
period were Jews, who stood out among all others on 
account of their far-flung connections from Europe to 
India (S. D. Goitein, A Mediterranean society, see Bibl). 
2. Basra and the Persian Gulf. Basra, founded by 
Muslims in 17/638 on the order of the caliph c Umar 
b. al-Khattab, lay some ifarsakhs (about 24 km) west 
of the Shatt al- c Arab (Ibn Hawkal, 235), with which 
it was connected by two canals, the Nahr al-Ubulla on 
the south and the Nahr al-Ma c kil on the north. These 
two, issuing from the Shatt, formed a semi-circle and 
met in the vicinity of Basra, ramifying into a network 
of smaller canals that criss-crossed the city. The two 
principal canals were affected by the tide and ebb 
which, if expertly exploited, allowed sea-going ships 

sser tonnage to reach Basra's harbour quarter of 
.alia' (Abu M-Fida 5 , Takwim, 57; Ibn Hawkal, loc. 
and map on p. 20; this map shows a third canal 
le south of the Nahr al-Ubulla, not mentioned in 
text). The large merchantmen did not proceed to 
:a but stopped at Ubulla, situated on the Shatt's 
:ern bank, or at SIraf on the Persian coast; these 
ports were the termini of the ships that came from 
a and China (al-Ya c kubI, 323, 365; al-Tabarl, i, 
2384). Islamic al-Ubulla was the classical Apologos, 
the port of the maritime merchant kingdom of 
" ' iene or Characene [see maysan], thus suggesting 
mtinuity in the role played by the Shatt in long- 

rade. The i 

:e of Ubulla as 

of Siraf, despite the obvi< 

a place of trans-shipment closer to Basra, may be 
sought in two factors. One was the difficulty of 
approach and entry into the Shatt's estuary. The 
dangers facing ships heading for Ubulla were first of 
all treacherous shoals, whose avoidance was sought by 
means of wooden scaffoldings, the khashabdt [q.v.], 
some distance offshore, with guards and fires lit at 
night forewarning the arriving ships (al-Mas c udi, 
Murudj., i, 230 = §242); the other danger was a 
whirlpool (khur) inside the Shatt close to Ubulla's har- 
bour itself, where many ships met their doom until an 
c Abbasid princess reportedly solved the problem, at 
her own expense, by dumping large quantities of rub- 
ble on the site (Ibn Hawkal, 237). The other reason 
for Siraf s prosperity was its additional function as a 
terminus for caravan routes linking it with Shiraz and 
other centres of Iran's interior. 

The fact that large sea-going ships could not pro- 
ceed beyond Ubulla was no obstacle. Goods were 
transferred on to smaller craft that could reach not 
only Basra but also Baghdad and even proceed further 
north; in any case, the river harbour of al-Kalla 3 on 
the eastern side of Basra was paralleled by the caravan 
quarter of al-Mirbad [q.v.] on the west, just as the 
river harbour of Baghdad was near the place where 
the Tigris communicated with the Euphrates by 
means of the c Isa canal. All these factors combined to 
form an interdependent network of maritime, river 
and caravan routes between Siraf, Ubulla, Basra and 
Baghdad, playing an essential role in the vast dimen- 
sion of East-West trade. Classical Arab historians and 
geographers recorded this in their works, e.g. al- 
Tabarl, who makes the caliph al-Mansur, while foun- 
ding Baghdad in 145/762, assess the role of its location 
in the following manner; "This is the Tigris: there is 
no obstacle t " " " " ' 

what lies beyond thei 

the Euphrates: everything from Dai 

Rakka and from what lies beyond th( 

and China; e 

/erything that is 

s by it. And the 

come to us [h 

ere]. And this is 

by it 

i, 272). 

The first three 'Abbasid centuries thus witnessed 
the primacy of the Persian Gulf ports as the great 
stages on the route that linked the Islamic Near East 
and the Mediterranean with the Orient; it was at this 
time that Muslim ships may have sailed as far as 
China itself. Khanfu, usually identified as Canton, 
was the Far Eastern terminus of these Muslim 
mariners and merchants of Siraf, Ubulla, Basra and 
Baghdad, while Siraf may have been the regular port 
of call of their Chinese counterparts, if this is how we 
are to understand the marakib al-siniyya of the Arab 
authors of the period. This remarkable direct connec- 
tion between the ports of the Islamic Near East and 
China has not only been duly recorded by Muslim 
historians and geographers (J. Sauvaget, Ahbar as-Sin 

wa l-Hind: Relation de la Chine et de I'Inde redigee en 851, 
Paris 1948), but it has also been paraphrased in the 
bellelettristic vein of Sindbad's voyages in the Alflayla 
wa-layla cycle (a remarkable demonstration of both the 
feasibility and dangers of such voyages was carried 
out in 1980-1 by T. Severin; see his The Sindbad voyage, 
London and New York 1983, and In the wake of Sind- 
bad, in National Geographic Magazine, vol. 162, no. 1 
[July 1982], 2-40). However, a political and economic 
decline of c Abbasid Irak that began in the 4th/10th 
century eventually led to a collapse of this role. By the 
5th/ 1 lth century, Baghdad and Basra shrank to a pale 
reflection of their former selves, and Ubulla and Siraf 
ceased functioning altogether. These factors may have 
contributed to a partial re-orientation of the maritime 
route to the ports of southern Arabia and of the Red 
Sea, a change that led to a re-emergence of the Egyp- 
tian ports, especially Alexandria, as the main emporia 
of East-West trade. 

The ports of c Uman and of the Persian Gulf did 
retain some of this traffic, however. Siraf was to some 
degree replaced by the island port of Kish (its Persian 
name; the Arabic name was Kays [q.v.\) and by Hur- 
muz. There developed an intense rivalry between 
Kish and Hurmuz; at first, however, the ruler of Kish 
placed emphasis on the piratical potentials of his loca- 
tion and of the large fleet he owned; the activities of 
this fleet, reported by al-IdrisT (2nd climate, part 6, 
156-7) contributed to a progressive deflection of the 
maritime routes from the Persian Gulf to Aden and 
the Red Sea (activities that found a latter-day 
analogue in the effect the Ra's al-Khayma Arabs had 
on British shipping in the Persian Gulf in the 18th and 
early 19th centuries, before the "Pirate coast" was 
transformed into the "Trucial coast" [see al- 
kawasim]). The rulers of Hurmuz eventually gained 
the upper hand, and their possessions intermittently 
straddled the sea so as to include also ports of <T Jman 
and Bahrayn. The international prominence of Hur- 
muz continued even after the arrival of Europeans in 
the Indian Ocean and the eagerness of Safawid rulers 
to trade with them. As the Portuguese for a brief 
period in the 16th century, and others, especially the 
British, lastingly in the 17th, captured much of the 
Indian Ocean trade, they added to their mainstream 
routes along the Cape of Good Hope the route to the 
ports of the Near East; there, those of the Persian Gulf 
were favoured over those of southern Arabia and of 
the Red Sea. Hurmuz {q.v.\ succeeded in the 17th 
century by Bandar c Abbas [q.v.], thus came to play a 
role similar to that of Siraf half-a-millennium earlier; 
Basra left its former location (marked today by the 
town of Zubayr) and moved eastward towards the 
Shaft, where it combined the functions of its ancestor 
and of the defunct Ubulla; and Baghdad again 
received and dispatched fleets of river craft and 
caravans. This renascence of the Persian Gulf ports 
contributed to an enhancement of their inland part- 
ners such as Aleppo and Tabriz and, ultimately, of 
such ports as Iskenderun, Trebizond and Izmir. 

3. Alexandria and other ports of Egypt. Alexandria's 
[see al-iskandariyya] role as the greatest emporium 
of East-West trade coincided with the later Middle 
Ages, mainly the 5th-9th/l lth- 15th centuries, but it 
functioned as the principal Egyptian port ever since its 
its foundation by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. 
From among the factors that caused Alexandria's 
dominating position in the later Middle Ages, one 
may have been the above-mentioned decline of the 
Persian Gulf ports, and the other the phenomenal 
growth of the European economy with the concomi- 
tant expansion of Italian, French and Catalan ship- 

ping from the 5th/l lth century onwards. The manner 
in which Alexandria received spices and other pro- 
ducts of the Orient varied in the C( 

it fea) 

i. One 

■alent use of the Nile as part of the i 
goods were unloaded at such Red Sea ports as 
< Aydhab or Kusayr, transported by caravans to the 
river ports of Aswan, Kvis or Kuna, and thence car- 
ried on barges to the Mediterranean coast; in addi- 
tion, the ports at the northern end of the Red Sea 
(Kulzum and its successor Suez, Tur, Ayla) were also 
used. The fact that the westernmost branch of the Nile 
did not extend to Alexandria never prevented it from 

g the p 

Lt the e 

Damietta, Tinnls. The i 
vastness of Alexandria's two harbours, as well as other 
factors such as the canal that branched off at Fuwwa 
and connected the Nile with Alexandria; this canal, 
intermittently silting up and being dredged and 
repaired, may have been used as a waterway during 
the Nile flooding in the early centuries (Ibn Hawkal, 
140), but later, judging from the testimonies of Euro- 
pean travellers, the standard mode of transportation 
between Alexandria and the Nile was the short 
overland march to the Rosetta estuary. Overland 
transportation on pack animals to points further south 
or to Cairo itself became exceptional: the cheapness of 
water transport (thus Nasir-i Khusraw, 53, where he 
states that one river barge carried a load equivalent to 
that of 200 mule-loads), combined with the difficulty 
of fording or crossing the numerous canals of the 
Delta, especially in the flood season, led to the almost 
exclusive use of the Alexandria-Rosetta route. 

The harbours of Alexandria were a product, as in 
many other cases, of both natural and man-made 
features, but the former predominated. A narrow 
peninsula, protruding northward, had a tip that 
extended eastward and westward, thus creating two 
large and somewhat sheltered bays: these were the 
sites of the two harbours of Alexandria, the eastern 
and western (see for example Piri Re'Ts, Kitdb-i 
bahriyye, 700-3, and map on 704-5). The western side 
of the eastern harbour was the main international port 
and the only one accessible to non-Muslim ships; the 
western harbour, also called Old Harbour, was 
reserved for Muslim ships. The famous lighthouse 
built in antiquity, that stood on the peninsula, still 
evoked the marvel of classical Arab geographers and 
gave rise to such legends as that of the magic mirror, 
but it was ruined by the time oflbn Battuta's second 
1349 (i, 30). The Mamluk si 

built a guard-tower on the 
877/1472-3, and the Otto 
Suleyman the Magnificen 
equipped it with heavy 
Seydhat-ndme, x, 691). 

At the height of Alexandi 
Tyre (1130-86) calls it "th 

s Sellrr 

, (Ewl 

i Celebi, 

I, Willi 


irt of the two worlds' 
itics, jewels and other 
precious objects that Europe lacks are brought from 
the two Indias, from Saba, Arabia, the two Ethiopias, 
Persia and neighbouring countries, by sea and by the 
Nile to Alexandria..." (Historia rerum in partibus 
transmannis geslarum, in RHC, i [1844], xix, 26,27). 
The sultan's customs house levied various types of 
taxes on ships, goods and passengers, and the inspec- 
tion of both in- and out-bound traffic was thorough, 
without much distinction between Christians and 
Muslims, or merchants and pilgrims, judging by such 
testimonies as Ibn Djubayr's, who passed through this 
port in 579/1183 (Rihla, 40-5). The revenue to the 
sultan's treasury must have been considerable, but the 

scattered nature of the reports makes it difficult to 
form a consistent picture; thus in 703/1303 a Frankish 
ship paid 40,000 dinars' duty on its cargo; in the entire 
year of 721/1321, the revenue was 50,000 dinars; a 
governor in the 9th/15th century assessed Alexandria 
to be worth 1,000 frinti (dinars) a day (see al- 

only one part of the asset to Egypt represented by 
Alexandria as a port; the main benefit rested in the 
role it played for trade and 

I. Mor. 

n the i 

the boom characteristic of the later Middle Ages, the 
ships owned by the sultan as well as by other high 
officials on a private basis also participated in this 
trade. Traffic between Alexandria and the main ports 
of Christian Europe, however, appears to have been 
assured chiefly by Christian merchants and ships. 
Moreover, the principal trading partners such as 
Venice, Genoa, Marseilles or Barcelona established 
permanent commercial missions and facilities usually 
referred to as fondacchi (funduks [q.v.] in Arabic) in 
Alexandria as well as in some other Muslim ports. 
The goods passing through Alexandria were of vari- 
ous kinds, but the single most important article was 
spices from the Orient on the way to Europe; an 
always coveted type of imports from Europe was 
strategic materials such as timber, iron, pitch and 
weapons — all subject to frequent papal interdictions 
and exemptions. Importation of slaves, chiefly from 
the Pontic and Caucasus regions via Turkey, also 
figured prominently. Furthermore, a special and 
lasting type of traffic through the port of Alexandria 
was that of pilgrims, both Muslim and Christian. 
Muslim pilgrims from the Maghrib often arrived by 
sea to Alexandria and thence proceeded on the Nile to 
such river ports as Kus or Aswan, then overland to 
Kusayr or c Aydhab in order to cross over to Djudda, 
the port of Mecca; others crossed lower Egypt to 
Kulzum, and from there they either continued 
overland or again embarked and sailed to Djar or 
Djudda. Christian pilgrims, although they more com- 
monly sailed to Jaffa or other ports closer to 
Jerusalem, also often passed through Alexandria: this 
applied especially to those who added a visit to Mount 
Sinai to their pilgrimage. 

The discovery of the Cape route proved fatal to 
Alexandria's pre-eminence as the foremost port of 
East-West trade, but this happened only gradually; 
moreover, Alexandria did retain some importance in 
all respects, and only the opening of the Suez Canal 
in 1869 may be considered as the terminal date of this 
port's function as a hub of transit trade and travel. 
Thus in the llth/17th century, Ewliya Celebi 
describes Alexandria as a large port frequented each 
year by some three to four hundred Frankish ships, 

and a 

e there 

(lit. "seven") [Christian] kings (Seyahat-name, x, 678- 
9; Ewliya's description of Alexandria, 668-707, is 
especially thorough and informative). 

" " ' with Alexandria, 

Rosetta, Dami 

i Tinnls 

unlike Baghdad in combination with Basra, Ubullj 
and Siraf. This function shifted in the Ottoman period 
to Cairo's suburb of Bulak, whose role is vividly por- 
trayed by such observers as Leo Africanus [q.v.] and 
Ewliya. According to the former, one could some- 
times see as many as one thousand barges in the har- 
bour of Bulak, and a certain number of the sultan's 
customs officiate were stationed there (Description de 
I'Ajrique, tr. A. Epaulard, Paris 1958, 508-9). Ewliya 
Celebi mentions it as a port whither converge goods 
"from the seven climates", which is annually visited 

by t, 

's arsenal; moreover, the records 
of the traffic passing through other 
Egyptian ports such as Damietta, Rosetta and Aswan 
were located in Bulak. Ewliya also states that there 
were in Bulak 73 khans belonging to rich merchants 
who had partners in India, Yemen, Europe and 
Turkey (Seyahat-name, x, 291-4). Nevertheless, Bulak 
did not really function as a full-fledged maritime port 
in the proper sense of the word; all the evidence sug- 
gests that most goods were transferred at the Rosetta 

for further transportation. 

Other busy ports of Egypt's Mediterranean coast 
were Rosetta [see rashid], Damietta [see dimyat], 
and Tinnls [q.v.]. Rosetta, long a military port, 
became open to foreign shipping only towards the end 
of the Mamluk period (Heyd, ii, 428-9, see Bibi; for 
the Ottoman period, see Ewliya, Seyahat-name, x, 707- 
16). Damietta declined after the 7th/13th century, 
when Crusaders' 

going ships; 
ved further 


upstream, did continue to function as a port, even 
though goods had to be hauled from ships anchored at 
the estuary by means of small boats (for the Ottoman 
period, see Seyahat-name, x, 737-45). Tinnls, situated 
on an island in Lake Manzala connected with the 
Damietta branch of the Nile, also functioned as a 
port; Nasir-i Khusraw mentions as many as 1,000 
ships mooring there (Safar-ndma, 50). Tinnis, how- 
ever, eventually disappeared because of repeated 
attacks by Christian warships and pirates. 

A special case was that of al-Farama (or al-Farma), 
the ancient Pelusium, which still functioned as a port 
in the first Islamic centuries. Its location on the coast 
due north of al-Kulzum [q.v.] offered the shortest 
overland connection between the Mediterranean and 
Red Seas. Al-Farama is singled out by Ibn Khurrada- 
dhbih (153-4) as the port used by the Radhaniyya 
Jewish merchants, who arrived there from western 
Europe (Firandja) with their goods and transported 
them across the distance of 25 farsakhs to al-Kulzum; 
there, they re-embarked and sailed to Djar, the port 
of Medina, and Djudda, the port of Mecca; from 
these ports, they would then sail to India and China. 
Likewise on their return trips, they brought oriental 
goods to al-Kulzum, transported them to al-Farama, 
and re-embarked for western Europe or Constantino- 
ple. Al-Farama, however, ceased to function by the 
end of the 4th/10th century, in part due to the drying- 
up of the Pelusiac branch of the Nile. 

4. The ports of the Syro- Palestine coast. The ports along 
this coast can be divided into three groups: those in 
lunicated mainly with Jerusalem, 


n the middle that 

ected with Dan 

and those in the north that served mainly Aleppo. The 
principal ports of the southern group were Ghazza 
[q.v.], Ascalon [ c askalan] and Jaffa [see yafa]; of the 
middle group, Acre [see c akka], Tyre [see sur], Sidon 
[see sayda], Beirut [see bayrut], and Tripoli; of the 
northern group, Ladhikiyya. Tartus [q.v.], Antioch 

Payas. Coastal roads also linked these ports with each 
other and with Egypt and Anatolia at the two ends. It 
was here that Muslims initially and lastingly came 
into contact with the Mediterranean Sea, although 
this contact received a traumatic upheaval during the 
two centuries of Crusaders' principalities. It is dif- 
ficult to single out any one of these ports as surpassing 
the others in importance, but certain genera] trends 
can be discerned. Jaffa stood out as the Jerusalem- 

bound pilgrim's port. The role of Damascus as one of 
the major inland termini of that part of the Spice 
Route which proceeded from Aden or Djudda north- 
ward through Arabia instead of swerving, across the 
Red Sea, to Egyptian ports, enhanced the role of the 
ports of the middle groups such as Beirut, Tyre and 
Acre. In the Ottoman period, the northern group 
gained prominence; this was due to the growth of 
Aleppo as an entrepot of long-distance trade resulting 
from the renascence of the Persian Gulf and Iran 
routes, as well as to the proximity of the route from 
the Ottoman capital to Aleppo and c Irak. 

The fate of the above-mentioned inner harbours of 
many of these ports displays an evolution 
characteristic of much of the Islamic Mediterranean. 
Those of the inner harbours which relied on man- 
made structures such as walls in the sea declined, 
because that technology, chiefly of Roman origin, 
gradually became forgotten; an example of this pro- 
cess is cited by al-MukaddasI in his description of 
Acre (162-4). He narrates how Ahmad b. Tulun (254- 
70/868-84) wished to have the breakwater wall of Acre 
strengthened, but was told that architects expert in 
such techniques no longer existed; eventually, one — 
the geographer's own grandfather — who still knew the 
art, was found. On the other hand, harbour fortifica- 
tions flourished throughout the Islamic period: the 
c Abbasid caliph al-Mutawakkil (232-47/847-61) had a 
whole series of Mediterranean harbours further for- 
tified, in order to counter devastating raids by Byzan- 
tine fleets. The inner harbours continued to decline, 
however, and judging by Pirl Re'Ts's Kitdb-i bahriyye, 
by the 10th/16th century most were silted up or 
accessible only to small vessels. 

5 . The ports o/Ifrikiya and the Maghrib. Both historical 
continuity and dramatic change due to partly external 
circumstances marked especially these ports. Con- 
tinuity was dominant throughout the Middle Ages, 
when such ports as Bougie (Bidjawa), Tunis, al- 
Mahdiyya, and Tripoli functioned much as their 
direct or indirect predecessors had done since anti- 
quity, namely as commercial ports, naval bases and 
centres of pirate activities. Commercial links with the 
Islamic East and Christian Europe remained the 
dominant feature, despite the above-mentioned con- 
frontational nature of the two sides of the Mediterra- 
nean. The change occurred in the 10th/16th century, 
when the transformation of Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli 
into corsair principalities, nominally subordinate to 
Istanbul as eydlets but in fact independent [see kur- 
san], reversed that order and made the confrontation 
the chief theme. The purpose was again economic, 
but the religious zeal of these initially Turkish 
maritime ghazis played a catalytic role in the formation 
of the three principalities. 

In Umayyad Spain, both its economic prosperity 
and the need for a war fleet stimulated the develop- 
ment of busy ports, especially on the Mediterranean 
coast. Almeria (from Mariyyat Badjdjana, or just al- 
Mariyya [?•»•]), the principal naval base and site of 
the caliph's arsenal, was also the busiest commercial 
port; its overseas connections included Alexandria 
and the ports of the Syro-Palestinian coast; ships sail- 
ing between it and Alexandria often did so directly 
without stopping (Goitein, A Mediterranean society, i, 
302). From among the other ports, that of Denia [see 
daniya] deserves mentioning as the seat of the prin- 
cipality of Mudjahid [?.».], whose maritime ghazwa in 
the 5th/ 11th century presaged the formation of the 
Turkish principalities in North Africa half a millen- 
nium later. Finally, Cordova and Seville, both on the 
Guadalquivir, played some role as river ports. The 

gradual completion of the Reconquista eventually put 
an end to the functioning of all these harbours as 
Muslim ports, a situation not without effect on the 
configuration of Muslim shipping in the Mediter- 

In conclusion, one general observation can be made 
in respect to the ports of the Islamic West. In com- 
parison with those of the eastern Mediterranean, they 
played a secondary role. The reason may be sought in 
the fact that those of the East occupied a vital position 
on the hub of long-distance East- West trade, travel 
and, eventually, European expansion. The ports of 
the West, on the other hand, fulfilled only a local role, 
however important it often was; the trans-Saharan 
movement of gold and slaves through these ports 
never approached the magnitude of the Orient trade. 

6. The ports of Turkey and of the Black Sea. In pre- 
Ottoman Anatolia, the ports of the south and north 
coasts had a significant share in transit trade that 
linked the Pontic regions of Russia, the Caucasus and 
Inner Asia with the Mediterranean and Europe. Men- 
tion should also be made of Tarsus [see tarsus], the 
principal naval base of the c Abbasid caliphate in the 
Mediterranean during its first three centuries. That 
role, however, was extinct by the time much of 
Anatolia entered the Dar al-Isldm through Saldjukid 
conquests. It was under this dynasty that Alanya and 
Antalya on the south coast rapidly developed and 
became connected by caravan routes with Samsun 
and Sinope on the north coast; the latter two in turn 
had as their main partners the ports of Sudak, Kefe 
and Tana (Azak in Turkish, present-day Azov) on the 
north side of the Black Sea. Lajazzo (Ayas in Turkish; 
the site, on the north-western coast of the bay of 
Iskenderun, is marked today by the settlement of 
Yumurtalik) and Trebizond, longer in Christian 
hands than the others, played a parallel role and also 
received a greater share of the Silk or Spice Routes 
traffic coming from Central Asia or from the Persian 
Gulf. Among the goods passing through the ports of 
the Black Sea, slaves from southern Russia and the 
Caucasus were the most valuable and constant com- 
modity: this trade lasted well into the Ottoman period 
and flowed toward the Turkish and Egyptian capitals 
as well as toward other countries, including Italy. 

The ports of western Anatolia such as Balat, 
Ephesus, Izmir or Foca played a relatively secondary 
role in pre-Ottoman times. The dramatic rise of Izmir 
(Izmir [q.v. in Suppl.]) to a position of primacy in the 
Levant and possibly the entire eastern Mediterranean 
occurred only toward the end of the 10th/ 16th cen- 
tury. This prosperity, which peaked in the llth/17th 
and 12th/18th centuries, was partly due to the above- 
mentioned renascence of the Persian Gulf route, for 
which Izmir became one of the Mediterranean 
outlets; another cause seems to have been the hitherto 
underestimated economic strength of llth/17th cen- 
tury Anatolia itself. Izmir functioned as the terminus 
of a latter-day silk route, or silk-and-mohair route, for 
the silks from Iran and mohair from Anatolia formed 
a valuable portion of exports to Europe. Ewliya Celebi 
mentions large and frequent caravans that kept arriv- 
ing from Iran, and ships from a whole gamut of Euro- 
pean countries that called regularly— some 1,000 
ships annually. The inner harbour had long silted up, 
but the large bay offered a comfortable anchorage. A 
European merchant colony became permanently 
established in Izmir to the point where "one would 
think one found oneself in Frengistan." The Franks 
had their own quarter along the harbour waterfront, 
and small boats handled the loading and unloading of 
goods, for large ships had to anchor some distance off 

shore (Seydhat-ndme, ix, 96-7). Fro 

pear, ] 


he Euro- 
d visiting 
ships, those of England, France and Holland were the 
foremost: the supremacy of Italian and Catalan ships 
and merchants was by then a thing of the past. As for 
the Ottoman subjects, alongside Muslims, an active 
role was also played by Armenians, Jews and Greeks. 
While Izmir was the principal international port of 
Ottoman Turkey, Istanbul [q. v. ] as a port functioned 
mainly as the receiving end of a traffic designed to sus- 
tain the imperial capital. This alone sufficed to make 
its harbour, situated along both sides of the Golden 
Horn, a busy place. The northern side, whose main 
part in fact extended along the Bosphorus, served 
international shipping; the southern side with its 
many iskeles was reserved for Ottoman ships. Further 
west toward the end of the Golden Horn, on its 
northern side, was the imperial arsenal of Kasim 
Pasha (a description of these features can be found in 
Eremya Qelebi Komurcuyan, Istanbul tanhi, Turkish 
tr. H. Andreasyan, Istanbul 1952, 15-19, 37-9). 

7. Ports of the Caspian Sea. The ports of the land- 
locked Caspian [see bahr al-khazar] played a 
naturally restricted role, without the magnitude of 
maritime trade, naval warfare or piracy affecting 
other seas. Nevertheless, there was a lively local traffic 
since the early centuries of Islam (al-Mas c udI, Murudj_, 
ii, 25 = § 463). Thus Abaskun [q.v.] situated in the 
south-eastern corner of the Caspian (near the location 
of present-day Bandar Shah, the northern terminus of 

tfurda) for the towns and regions of Astarabadh and 
Gurgan, with ships leaving from it for Khazaria and 
Bab al-Abwab (al-Istakhn, 213-14). The prosperity of 
Abaskun in the 3rd'/9th and 4th/10th centuries made 
it the target of piratical raids by the still heathen Rus 
sians (or, more exactly, RGs [q.v.]); two such raids 
between 250-70/864-84 and in 297/909, are reported 
in Ibn Isfandiyar's TaMkh-i Tabaristdn (ed. A. Eghbal 
266; tr. E.G. Browne, 199; see also al-Mas c udi 
Murudj., ii, 19-25 = §§ 458-61, and B. Dorn, Caspia 
liber die Ein/dlle der alten Russen in Tabaristan St 
Petersburg, 187 5 = Academie Imperiale des Science* 

301/913-4 by Rus pirates, was Baku '[?.»] (al 
Mas'udl, Murudx, ii, 21 = § 460); Baku was also one of 
the earliest oil-exporting ports, a role which it con 
served throughout the subsequent centuries Thus 
c Abd al-Rashld Salih al-BakuwT (fl. 806/1402) reports 
how the inhabitants made seal-skin bags from seals 
(kilab al-ma y ) which they hunted on a nearby island 
they filled these bags with oil, and had them exported 
by ships to various other ports of the Caspian (Kttab 
Talkhts al-dthdr wa^adfaHb al-malik al-kahhdr, ed and tr 
Z.M. Buniyatov, Moscow 1971, Arabic text 122 
Russian tr. 89). Finally, Derbend [q.v.], called in 
Classical Arabic texts Bab al-Abwab [q.v.], had a har 
bour similar to those of the Mediterranean with 

guard-towers and a chain (al-Istakhn, 184-5 Hudud 
al-'dlam, tr. 145). 

8. Ports of the Islamic Orient. Two groups of ports 
ruled or used by Muslims can be distinguished litre 
those of the Indian subcontinent, and those of 
Malaysia and Indonesia. From among the former, 
Daybul, Surat and Kalikut can serve as characteristic 
examples. Daybul [q.v.] situated in the delta of the 
Indus not far from modern Karachi, was won for 
Islam by conquest in 92/711-12; the other ports 
received their Muslim populations chiefly through 
emigration and proselytisation that travelled along the 

trade and piracy both in the pre-Islamic and Islamic 
periods, and its merchants were an example of those 
Indians who reciprocated the enterprising spirit of the 
Arabs and Persians by sailing to the ports of Arabia, 
the Persian Gulf, and East Africa. Surat, located on 
the eastern side of the entry into the Gulf of Cambay 
[see khambayat], added to its commercial role that of 
a favourite gateway of Mecca-bound pilgrims. 
Kalikut [q.v. in Suppl.] owed its eminence in part to 
a strategic position in the southern part of the 
Malabar coast, where it functioned not only as an 
Indian port but also as a relay post and exchange mart 
for trade with Indonesia and China. It rose to promi- 
nence in the later Middle Ages and surpassed Kulam 
Malay (Qjjilon) [see kulam], a port still closer to the 
southern tip of India, which had a similar function in 
early c Abbasid times (Sauvaget, Akhbdr, 8, 42-3). Ma 
Huan, the chronicler of Chinese maritime expeditions 
of the early 15th century, mentions Kalikut as the 
usual goal of Chinese fleets arriving from the east, and 
as a point of departure on their further sailings to such 
ports as Aden, Zafar or Hurmuz (Ma Huan, Ying-yai 
sheng-lan ,"The overall survey of the ocean 's shores ' ' (1 433), 
tr. Feng Ch'eng-chun, Cambridge 1970 (Hakluyt 
Society, Extra series, xlii, 151-71). Ibn Battuta sailed 
in April-May 1347 from Kalikut to Zafar (iv, 310-11); 
and it was at Kalikut that Vasco Da Gama, reportedly 
guided by the Arab pilot Ibn Madjid [q.v.], arrived in 
1498, after having crossed the Indian Ocean from the 
East African port of Malindi [q.v.]. 

The final group of important harbours of the 
Islamic world begins with Atjeh [q.v.] of Northern 
Sumatra and extends through the archipelago all the 
way to Sulawesi (Celebes). Their Islamisation had 
begun by the time Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta sailed 
through thtst waters in the 13th and 14th centuries, 
nigh complete when European penetra- 

arted g 

land 1 7th c< 
[ Pedir Lamuri (Lambri), Pasei and Perlak 
long the earliest exporters of spices and recep- 
slam They were by the 16th century eclipsed 


pre Islar 
t prosperity and 


: that reveals the 

ce) c 


tip of Sumatra across the narrowing strait further 
south the port of Malacca [q.v.] became the seat of a 
sultanate on Malay peninsula. Like the ports of 
Sumatra Malacca was useful as a relay station along 
the strategic passage through the strait of Malaysia on 
the routt to other Indonesian ports such as the 
pepper exporting port of Bantam at the western tip of 
Ji\a and to China. In early c Abbasid times, a role 
similar to that of Malacca had been played by Kalah 


1, 43). 

rted, Indonesians and Malays became 
feivtnt Muslims and such ports as Atjeh served as the 
principal gateways on their pilgrimage to Mecca, and 
in general as the points of communication with the 
centres of Islam further west. The rise of Atjeh in the 
16th century coincided with two dramatic 
developments in the Indian ocean: the arrival of the 
Europeans, and the attempts of the Ottomans to stave 

of this clash was an embassy sent by the third sultan 
of Atjeh, c Ala 3 al-DTn Ri c ayat Shah al-Kahhar (1573- 
71) to Istanbul in 973/1563, requesting military aid 
from Siileyman the Magnificent. Eventually, a fleet of 
nineteen vessels left the Ottoman naval base at Suez, 

but most remained in Yemen. Two ships did reach 
Atjeh, however, and delivered cannon and other 
ammunition as well as gunnery experts (Saffet, Bir 
c Othmanfi filosunun Sumatra sejeri, in TOEM, x [Oct. 
1911], 604-14; xi [Dec. 1911], 678-83). 

9. Khanfu and Zaytun. These two ports, identified 
with Canton and Ch'uan-chou (the latter located at 
the level of Taiwan), never came within the Dar al- 
Islam, but their special role as the Oriental termini of 
Muslim sea-farers and traders should allow us to 
include them in this discussion. Ibn Khurradadhbih. 
69, mentions Khanfu as the greatest marka (port of 
call) [of China]. Al-Mas c udl (Murudj_, i, 302-3 = § 329) 
states that Khanfu lay on ; 

of ship: 

from Basra 

'Uman, India and othe 
there lived in Khanfu colonies of Muslims, Chris- 
tians, Jews and Zoroastrians. One of al-Mas'udi's 
sources was the above-mentioned Akhbar al-Sin wa 7- 
Hind, dated 236/851 , which refers to Khanfu as a port 
of call of ships and a market place of Arabs and 
Chinese (ed. and tr. Sauvaget, Akhbar, 6-7). More- 
over, the interior of T'ang China was open to Muslim 

Chinese authorities; there was also a Muslim colony 
in the T'ang capital city of Chahgan, the eastern ter- 
minus of the transcontinental Silk Road. The simulta- 
neous presence of Muslim and other Near Eastern 
traders in both Changan and Canton may then have 
resulted in some linkage between the overland Silk 
Road and the maritime Spice Route (Rita Rose di 
Meglio, // commercio arabo con la Cina delta Gahiliyya al 
X secolo, in AIUON, n.s., xiv [1964], 523-52). Distur- 
bances that accompanied the final decades of T'ang 
rule also proved fatal to the Muslim colony in 
Khanfu/Canton: the death-blow was dealt by a 
rebellion in 879 A.D., when the entire colony was 
reported destroyed or driven out; some merchants 
then adopted the above-mentioned Kalah in Malaysia 
as their base of operations. The long-range effect of 
this upheaval, however, cannot have been absolute, 
for western visitors such as Marco Polo and Ibn Bat- 
tuta speak of Yuan Zaytun in terms not unlike those 
of the Akhbar and al-Mas c udI about T'ang Khanfu: 
Ibn Battuta found there a thriving Arabo-Persian 
merchant colony, up to a point self-governing; he also 
states that Zaytun was one of the largest, if not the 
largest, ports of the world (iv, 269). 

Bibliography. For the pre-modern period, the 
main scope of this article, few specific studies of 
ports and harbours exist, and information must be 
culled from a variety of sources. Only examples of 
especially helpful or representative titles can be 
mentioned here. The Mediterranean: A. 
Schaube, Handelsgeschichte der romanischen Volker des 
Mittelmeergebiets bis zum Ende der Kreuzziige, Munich- 
Berlin 1906, esp. 122-222; W. Heyd, Histoire du 
commerce du Levant au moyen-age, Leipzig 1885-6; 
S.D. Goitein, A Mediterranean society, Berkeley 1970- 
84, 4 vols., esp. i, ii; S. Labib, Handelsgeschichte 
Agyptens im Spdtmittelalter, 1171-1517, Wiesbaden 
1965; H.R. Idris, La Berbene orientate sous les Zmdes, 
X'-XII' siecles, Paris 1962; R. Brunschvig, La 
Berbene orientate sous les Hafsides, Paris 1940-7; E. 
Levi-Provencal, Histoire de I'Espagne musulmane, 
Paris-Leiden 1950; Ch.-E. Dufourq, L'Espagne 
catalane et le Maghrib aux XIII' et XIV' siecles, Paris 
1966; F. Braudel, La Mediterranee et le monde mediterra- 
nean a 1'epoque de Philippe II, Paris 1966; CI. Cahen, 
Ports et chantiers navals dans le monde mediterraneen 
musulman jusqu 'aux Croisades, in La navigazione 

Studi sull'alto Medioevo, Settimane di Studio, xxv, 
14-20 aprile 1977, Spoleto 1978, 299-319; idem, 
Douanes et commerce dans les ports mediterraneans de 
VEgypte medievale d'apres le Minhddi d'al-Makhzumi, in 
JESHO, vii (1964), 218-314; J. Aubin, La mine de 
Sirafet les routes du Golfe Persique aux XI' et XII' siecles, 
in Cahiers de civilisation medievale, ii/3 (1959), 295- 
301 ; idem, La survie de Shilau et la route du Khunj-o-jil, 
in Iran, vii (1969), 21-37; idem, Le r 

•x XVI' , 

i Mare 


(1972), 77-179. From among the prit 
the standard geographers and historians such as 
Idrisi, Yakut and Makrizi are indispensable; to 
these, the special category of portolans and portolan 
charts should be added; a fundamental study of the 
Italian ones is K. Kretschmer, Die italienischen Por- 
tolanedesMittelalters, Berlin 1909; of the Greek ones, 
A. Delatte, Les portulans grecs, Liege-Paris 1947; the 
Muslim side is represented by the unique case of 
Plrl Re'Is, Kitab-i bahriyye, facs. ed. Istanbul 1935; 
see also S. Soucek, A propos du Livre d' Instructions 
Nautiques de Ptri Re>is, in REI, xli (1973) 241-55. 
From among the travel accounts, Ewliya Celebi, 
Seydhat-ndme, Istanbul 1314-1938, 10 vols., is 
invaluable for the Ottoman period. The Red Sea, 
Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean: Some of the 
above-mentioned studies, especially Heyd, Goitein 
and Labib; A. Kammerer, La mer Rouge, t'Abyssinie 
et I'Arabie depuis I'antiquite, Cairo 1929-50; G.F. 
Hourani, Arab seafaring in the Indian Ocean in ancient 
and early Islamic times, Princeton 1951; A. Sprenger, 
Die Post- und Reiserouten des Orients, Leipzig 1864, 
esp. 79-91; O. Lofgren, Arabische Texte zur Kenttnis 
der Stadt Aden im Miltelalter, Uppsala 1936-50, esp. i, 
56-7; G. Le Strange, Lands; Schwarz, Iran im Mil- 
telalter nach den arabischen Geographen; W. Barthold, 
An historical geography of Iran, Princeton 1984; A. 
Iktidari Laristanl, Athdr-i shahrhd-yi bistanT-yi sawahil 
wa djazayir-i khalidf-i Fars wa daryd-yi 'Uman, Tehran 
1348/1969-70; C. Orhonlu, Osmanlt imparatorlugu- 
nun giiney siyaseti: Habes eyaleti, Istanbul 1974; N. 
Steensgard, The Asian trade revolution of the seventeenth 
century, Chicago-London 1974; K.N. Chaudhuri, 
Trade and civilisation in the Indian Ocean. An economic 
history from the rise of Islam to 1750, Cambridge 1985. 
From among the primary sources, Ibn Madjid and 
Sulayman al-Mahri, the Indian Ocean counterparts 
to Pin Re'is, deserve special mention; see also G. 
Ferrand, Instructions nautiques et routiers arabes et por- 
tugais des XV et XVI' siecles, Paris 1921-3 and G.R. 
Tibbetts, Arab navigation in the Indian Ocean before the 
coming of the Portuguese, London 1971. 

(S. Soucek) 
MINA'I, a term used by modern authors to des- 
cribe a type ofceramics with polychrome under- 
and over-glaze painting produced during the late 
12th and early 13th centuries. Figural decoration 
which depicts stories from the Persian epic tradition is 
characteristic of some mina~>i wares. 

When these objects first became known in the late 
19th century they were described as "Rhages 
Polychrome Ware" because they were said to come 
from the ruins of mediaeval Rayy on the outskirts of 
modern Tehran, but this link was not substantiated by 
textual documentation or archaeological evidence. 
More recently, O. Watson has suggested that minimi 
vessels were produced in Kashan [q.v.] by the group 
: who also made lustre-painted vessels and 

tural « 

:sof m 

and tiles have been found in Turkey and Syria, bi 
is unclear where these objects were produced. 
The designation of this polychrome painted war 

s." Other authors of this period such as K Erd 
and R. Ettinghausen use the term in quotation 
or qualify it as "so-called Mina 3 ! faience 
recently, however, the term minPi has gamei 
ance among both scholars and their public mi 
ications are seldom used. 

[t may have been "seven-colour ware", a tern 
dv Abu '1-Kasim al-Kasham, a membei of ' 

jught t. 


Certain examples of this ware have been repeatedly 
published, and a substantial quantity of it is found in 
public and private collections; overall, however it is 
poorly documented. Only a few signed pieces ha\e 
been noted: two by " c Ali b. Yusuf" and two by 'Abu 
Zayd al-Kasham". Dated pieces are also rare and 
curiously, four of the six published examples are dated 
to either Muharram 582/1186-7 or Muharram 
583/1 187-8. The authenticity of those dates was ques 
tioned already in 1939 by R Ettinghaus 


. the gla? 

ation befc 

seemingly been laigely ignored, lor the objects con 
tinue to be cited in current publications and used a 
the foundation foi a widei chronology 

? blue 

sky o. 


detailed references ate found in the Tans 
Ilkhani by Nasir al-D7n TusI, uho describe 
type oflead glass ol which the best quality 
Syna, Egypt and the Maghrib. Gieen mini 
prized and was used to imitate emeralds a 

inlays in precious materials. This suggests 

cribe glass vessels that had been painted and gilded. 
During the 18th and 19th centuries vessels of this type 
appear to have reached Iran from India or Europe, 
although some were also made locally. It is probable 
that the description of emerald glass as mind'' led to the 
designation of polychrome glazed ceramics as rnindH. 
Bibliography: Nasir al-DIn TusT, TansUkh-nama- 

yi Ilkhani, Tehran 1348, 58, 59, 148, 218; A. A. 

Dehkhoda, Lughat-nama, s.v. mind', mina'i; F. 

Sarre, Pe 

, Komglich 

(1908), 70-1; H. Ritter, J. 
Ruska, F. Sarre and R. Winderlick, Orientalised 
Steinbiicher und persische Fayencetechmk, Istanbul 1935, 
27-8, 45; K. Erdmann, A note on so-called Mina'i 
Faience, in Bull, of the American Institute for Persian Art 
and Archaeology, iii (1935), 80-2; R. Ettinghausen, 
Two signed mina'i bowls, in ibid., v (1937), 29-32; 
idem, Ceramic art in Islamic times. B. Dated faience, in 
Survey of Persian art, ed. A.U. Pope, New York 1939- 
40, 1688-9; Pope, Ceramic art in Islamic limes, mSPA, 
esp. 1596-8, 1627-9; A. Lane, Early Islamic pottery, 
New York 1948, 41-3; J.W. Allan, Abu 'l-Qasim's 
treatise on ceramics, in Iran, xi (1973), 115, 120; O. 
Watson, Persian lustre ware, London 1985, 23-5, 36- 
44, 60, 79, 84. See also khazaf. (P. Soucek) 


mmerous of the 
iumatra [a. 

, the i 


in Republic (1980 
6 million). They inhabit the 
Padang highlands of west-central Sumatra, but there 
are also appreciable numbers of Minangkabau 
emigrants, including to Negro Sembilan in the Malay 
peninsula [q. v. ] . Originally under Indonesian cultural 
and lehgious influence, as the centre of the Hindu- 
Malayan empire of Malayu, by the early 17th century 
much ol their land had become Muslim through the 
influence of the Sultanate of Atjeh [q.v.] at the 
noithern tip of the island. Although the Minangkabau 
ait enthusiastic Muslims, they retain many of their 


Mth t 


i. They 

.table woodcars 
is last respect i 
rnt foi Indones 

valing the Chinese. In the move- 
in independence in the earlier half 
of this century, they played a significant role, and 
se\eial of the Minangkabau filled important govern- 
ment positions in the post-1949 republican period. 
Bibliography E.M. Loeb. Sumatra, its history and 
people Vienna 1935, repr. Kuala Lumpur 1972; 
P E de Josselin de Jong, Minangkabau and Negri Sem- 

1951, R V Weekes (ed.), Muslim peoples, a world 

ethnographic survey 2 , London 1984, ii, 523-8 (with 

further bibl ) See also Indonesia, iv. History, and 

v Jslam m Indonesia, and Sumatra. (Ed.) 

MINAR, MINARET [see manAra). 

MINBAR (a ), the raised structure or pulpit 

liom which solemn announcements to the Muslim 

community weie made and from which sermons were 




ist to the mihrab [q.v.], the r. 
le time of the Prophet him 
junced mimbar (cf. Brockelr 

from the Ethiopic (Schwally, in ZDMG, lii [1898], 
146-8; Noldeke, Neue Beitrdge z. sem. Sprachw., 
Strassburg 1910, 49). Its case is therefore somewhat 

Wustenfeld, Chron. Mekka, ii, 8; Aghdnp', xiv, 75) and 
is used, for example, for saddle (al-Taban, Gloss.) and 
of a litter (Agham, xiii, 158; cf. Schwally). It is there- 
fore identical with magj.lis (al-Bukharl, Djum^a, bdb 
23), with sanr (al-Mubarrad, Kamil, 20; Agham, iii, 3), 
lakhl or kursi (Ibn al-Athlr, Usd al-ghaba, i, 214; cf. also 
Becker, Kanzel, 8). The use of the word for the pulpit 

When the khattb [q.v.] spoke among the Arabs, he 
lally did so standing (cf. Mufaddaliyydt , ed. Lyall, 


, Baydn, Caii 

1332, ] 

129, i 


ing the ground with bow 

1, i, 198; Labid, 7, 15, 9, 45); or he sat on his 

unt as did e.g. Kuss b. Sa c ida (Baydn, i, 25, 31, ii, 

). The Prophet did both of these things. In c Arafa 

sat on his camel during his khutba and on other 

when addressing the community during the 

arly period, even as late as the day of the capture of 

■lecca, he stood (cf. Kur'an, LXII, 11). The people 

at on the ground around him (al-Bukhari, Dpj.m'-a, 

ab 28; '■Idayn, bdb 6). In the mosque in Medina, he 

ad a particular place, as is mentioned in the stories 

of the introductic 
told, he stood besi 

Manakib, bib 25; ed. Krehl, ii, 400); as a rule however, 
beside a palm-trunk (djid/f, so Ibn Sa c d, i/1, 9, 10, 11, 
12) and on a few occasions beside one of the pillars (al- 
Bukhari, Manakib, bib 25, ed. Krehl, ii, 401; al- 
, 75). This is undoubtedly the 





don: the P 
inks used a 

Dphet stood b( 


e find ; 

iI-Bukhari, Buyu c , bib 32: 
la; already in al-Bukhari. 
s found later and for the 
which he sat. 

duced, notably the following: Ibn Sa'd, i/1, 9-12; al- 
BukhharT, Salit, bib 18, 64, 91; Djum c a, bib 26; Buyu c , 
bib 32; Hiba, bib 3; Manikib, bib 25; Muslim, 
Masidjid, tr. 10; see also Wensinck, Handbook, s.v. 
Pulpit; Usd al-ghiba, i, 43 below, 214; Wustenfeld, 
Medina, 62-3; Ibn Battuta, i, 275-6; the whole mate- 
rial is in al-Diyarbakri, Khamis, i, 129, ii, 75-6, and 
Sirat al-halabi, ii, 146-7. The details are variously 
given. The minbar, we are told, was built of tarfi wood 
or tamarisk from the woods near Medina; the builder 
was a Byzantine or a Copt and was called Bakum or 
Bakul, but the names Ibrahim {Usd, i, 43), Maymun, 
Sabah, Kulab and Mina are also given. He was a 
carpenter, but a slave of the wife of one of the Ansar 
or (al-Bukhari, Hiba, bib 3) of the Muhadjirun. 
Others say he belonged to al- c Abbas. The suggestion 
is sometimes credited to the Prophet and sometimes to 
others. The palm-trunk is said to have whined like a 
camel or a child when the Prophet mounted his new 
seat, but was calmed by stroking and kind words from 
the Prophet. Most stories take it for granted that the 
minbar was primarily intended for the khutba; in some 
it is added that the object was to enable the large 
assembly to hear him (Ibn Sa<d, i/1, 10, 11). We are 
told also that the Prophet performed the salit on it 
and, during the sudjud, he came down from it. He also 
took care that the people could see his salit and follow 
him (al-Bukhari, Salit, bib 18; Djum c a, bib 26). This 
last tradition however presupposes the later custom of 
standing upon the minbar (note that the same idea of 
the palm-stump occurs in\ bib 26). 

In this connection, it is interesting to note a tradi- 
tion in Ibn al-Athir according to which the Compan- 
ions asked the Prophet to take up a raised position, as 
many wufud were coming (Usd al-ghiba, i, 43). 
Another tradition is in keeping with this, according to 
which the Prophet, when he was visited by a man 
named Tamlm, stood on a kursi and addressed him 
from it {ibid, 214; cf. Lammens, Mo'awia, 204, n. 5). 
Here we have a seat of honour on which the ruler sits. 
This is undoubtedly in keeping with the character of 
the minbar; while the raised seat was in general use 
among the northern Semites, the Arabs usually sat on 
the ground, often leaning against a saddle. The raised 
seat was the special mark of the ruler or, what is the 
same thing, of the judge. We are told that Rabfa b. 
Mukhashin was the first to sit on a minbar or sarir when 
acting as judge {AghinP, iii, 3; al-MakrizI, iv, 6-7). 
Al-Hadjdjadj, for example, when he addressed the 
people (hardly in the mosque) sat on a chair which 
belonged to him {kursi lahu: al-Tabari, ii, 959) and 
when he tried and condemned his enemies, a sarir was 
erected for him {ibid., 1119); in the same way a kursi 
was placed for Yazid b. al-Muhallab when he issued 
his orders for a battle {ibid. , ii, 1 107; see also Becker, 
Kanzel, 8). 

If tradition usually suggests that the minbar was 
introduced exclusively for the khutba, this seems to be 

primarily, as Becker was the first to point out, the 
throne of the mighty Prophet in his capacity as a 

introduced in the year 7, 8 or 9 (al-Tabari, i, 1591; al- 
Diyarbakri, Khamis, ii, 75; Usd al-ghiba, i, 23). The 
Prophet used it for the publi ' " ' 



That he should also make his public speeches 
community from the new seat was only natural. His 
khutbas, however, were not confined to the Friday 
worship, and he could still deliver a khutba without a 
minbar, e.g. at the festival on the musalla {q.v.}, where 
Marwan was the first to put up a minbar (al-Bukhari, 
'■Idayn, bib 6), and beside the Ka c ba after the capture 
of Mecca (Ibn Hisham, 823). 

The Prophet's minbar is often called a'wad from 
its material (al-Bukhari, Salit, bib 64; Djurn^a, bib 26). 
It consisted of two steps and a seat {mad)lis: al- 
Diyarbakri, Khamis, ii, 75; al-Bukhari, Dfum^a, bib 
23; mak c ad: al-Tabari, i, 1591). After the time of the 
Prophet, it was used in the same way by Abu Bakr, 
c Umar and c Uthman (see below). Its significance as a 
throne is seen from the fact that in the year 50, 
Mu c awiya wanted to take it to Syria with him; he was 
not allowed to do so but he raised it by 6 steps. At a 
later date, c Abd al-Malik and al-Walid are said to 
have wanted to take the Prophet's minbar to Damascus 
(al-Tabari, ii, 92-3; Khamis, ii, 75; Ya'kubf, TaMkh, 
ii, 283; Ibn al-Fakih, 23-4; Wustenfeld, Medina, 63). 
In the time of the Prophet, it stood against the wall so 
that a sheep could just get past (al-Bukhari, Salat, 91). 
In the time of al-Mukaddasi, in the centre of the 
Mughatta there was pointed out the position of the old 
minbar, above which Mu c awiya was said to have built 
his new one (82; cf. Ibn Hawkal, 26, and al-Kazwinl, 
ed. Wustenfeld, ii, 71). According to some hadiths, it 
was over the hawd of the Prophet (al-Bukhari, Salit fi 
Makka, bab 5; Fadi^il al-Madina, bib 5,12 and passim). 

mosque (see Wustenfeld, Medina, 64, 96). 

That the Umayyads should have a minbar of their 

, just 

: (cf. Goldziher, Muh. Stud. , 
42). Mu c awiya took it with him on his journey to 
Mecca {Chron. Mekka, i, 333); he also had taken it to 
the festivals on the musalla (al-Ya c kubI, TaMkh, ii, 
265), just as Marwan used to do in Medina (see 
above); it was therefore still portable and indispen- 
sable for the sovereign when he wished to make a 
public appearance as such. In Ibn Djubayr's time, the 
minbar al-khutba in Damascus was in the central 
maksura (Rihla, 265). According to Ibn Khaldun. 
Mu c awiya was the first in Islam to use the throne 
{sarir, minbar, takht, kursi) but he is clearly not referring 
to the minbar of the mosque {Mukaddima, Cairo 1322, 
205-6, fasl 3, 37). 

The minbar taken to Mecca by Mu c awiya remained 
there till the time of al-Rashld; when the latter visited 
Mecca on his Pilgrimage in the year 170/786-7 or 
174/790-1 a minbar mankish with nine steps was 
presented to him by the amir of Egypt and the old one 
was put up in c Arafa. At a later date, al-Wathik made 
minbars for Mecca, c Arafa and Mina {Chron. Mekka, i, 
333, iii, 114). The Meccan minbar was a portable one. 
It usually stood beside the makim but was put beside 
the Ka c ba during the khutba (Ibn Djubayr, 95, 97; cf. 
Chron. Mekka, iii, 429). According to al-Batanuni, this 
custom was kept up until Sultan Siilayman Kanuni 
(926-74/1520-66) built a marble minbar, north of the 
makim (al-Rihla al-Hidjiziyya, 100). 

It seems at first to have been doubtful whether 

manabir should be put up in the provinces or not. 
According to al-Kuda c I, c Amr had a minbar made in 
al-Fustat but <Umar ordered him to take it away: he 
was not to raise himself above the Muslims so that 
they would have to sit below his heels (al-Makrizi, iv, 
6-7; Ibn Taghnbirdl, i, 76; al-Suyutl, Husn al- 
muhddara, i, 63, ii, 135). The idea obviously was that 
the throne belonged to the caliph alone. After 
'Ulnar's death, however, 'Amt is said to have used a 
minbar (al-Makrizi, iv, 8, 27). It stood there till Kurra 
b. Shank [q.v.] rebuilt the mosque. During the 

used as a mosque; only when the mosque was com- 
pleted in the year 92/711 did Kurra put up a new min- 
bar. Tradition, however, is uncertain. The minbar 
removed by Kurra perhaps dated from the time of 
c Abd al- c Azrz b. Marwan, who had taken it from a 
church or had been presented with it by the Nubian 
king (al-Makrizi, iv, 8; Ibn Taghnbirdl, i, 78). 
Kurra's minbar remained till 379/989, when the 
Fatimid vizier Ya'kub b. Killis replaced it by a gilded 

'Amt in 405/1014-15 by al-Hakim (al-Makrizi, iv, 8; 
Ibn Taghnbirdl, i, 78-9). 

We hear of no objections in other places to the 
manabir in the amsar. In Mada'in as early as the year 
16/637, Sa c d b. Abi Wakkas erected a minbar in the 
mosque improvised in the Iwan of Kisra (al-Tabarl, i, 
2451,9). In Basra, Abu Musa put up a minbar in the 
middle of the mosque. This was, however, found 
inconvenient because the imam had to cross from the 
minbar to the kibla "over the necks" of the (seated) 
believers. Ziyad then placed the minbar against the 
south wall (Yakut, i, 642). On the other hand, we are 
told that c Abd Allah b. c Abbas (governor of Basra 36- 
40/656-60) was the first to mount the minbar in Basra 
(al-Djahiz, Bayan, i, 179). When Ziyad had to fly from 
Basra, he saved the minbar which he put up in his 
Masdjid al-Huddan (al-Tabarl, i, 3414-15). The min- 
bar was the symbol of the ruler, and the governor sat 
upon it as representative of the ruler. It therefore 
formed a feature of the Masdjid al-Djama c a, where 
the community was officially addressed. In the year 
64/683-4, therefore, there were minbars in all the prov- 

Hakam not only in the capital but in the other manabir 
in the Hidjaz, Misr, Sha'm, Djazlra, c Irak, 
Khurasan, and other amsar (al-Mas c udI, Tanbih, 307). 
Special mention is made of the fact that Tabariyya 

In the 1st century and beginning of the 2nd one, we 
find the wdli'm the smaller towns delivering the khutba 
standing, with the staff only. But in 132/749-50 the 
governor c Abd al-Malik b. Marwan had manabir put 
up in the kura of Egypt (al-Makrizi, iv, 8, 17 ff.; Ibn 
Taghnbirdl, i, 350-1). When the khutba became 
purely a religious exhortation and the ruler was no 
longer the khatib, the minbar became the pulpit of the 
spiritual preacher, and every mosque in which the 
Friday service was celebrated was given a minbar. At 
the same time, i.e. after al-Rashid, the change was 
gradually completed and the preacher spoke, standing 
on the pulpit. Hadiths therefore came into existence, 
according to which the Prophet used to deliver two 
khutbas on Friday, standing "just as is done to-day" 
(al-Bukharl, Djum^a, bibs 27, 30) and c Umar (ibid., 
bib 2). 

The minbar was thus now quite analogous to the 
Christian pulpit. It is very probable that this latter 
also influenced its form. We have already noted 
above, regarding a minbar in the mosque of'Amr, that 
it was said to be of Christian origin. The same thing 

came to be said of the Prophet's minbar (Wiistenfeld, 
Medina, 63). Mu c awiya made the Medina minbar 
larger, while the one brought by him to Mecca had 
only three steps and was of course portable. We again 
hear of portable minbars later, which did not exclude 
their being large (cf. above, on the minbar of Mecca). 
Thus the manabir in al-Maghrib are said to have been 
portable. Ibn al-Hadjdj regards this (the oldest) 
custom as bid'-a and therefore ascribes it to al- 
Hadjdjadj (Madkhal, ii, 47, 13 ff.). The oldest minbars 
were all of wood. There is, however, one hadith which 
says that the Prophet had a kursio! wood with iron legs 
made for the reception of Tamlm (Usd, i, 214, 8 from 
below; cf. Lammens, Mo c awia, 273, n. 3); it is how- 

minbar of iron was made as early as the Umayyad 
period (Ibn Taghnbirdl, i, 78, 8: al-minbar al-hadid, 
probably correct in spite of Becker, Kanzel, 10, n.; cf. 
79, 4, and see below); and also of stone (Goldziher, 
Muh. Stud., ii, 42, n. 5, with a reference to Ibn 
Hadjar); later, they were also built of brick 
(Wiistenfeld, Medina, 64, 96). As a rule, the minbar 
stood against the kibla wall beside the mihrab. Al- 
Mahdl had tried to reduce the manabir to their original 
small size (al-Tabarl, iii, 486, 12; al-Makrizi, iv, 12, 
13 ff), but he could not arrest the development. In the 
larger mosques several manabir were even built. Ibn 
al-Faklh, in about 300/912-13, already mentions five 
minbars in the mosque in Jerusalem (100, 8 f.). In the 
Sultan Hasan mosque in Cairo, four were planned 
and three erected, when a minaret fell down in 
762/1361 and diverted attention to other work (al- 
Makrizi, iv, 117, 18 f.). 

The importance which the minbar already had in the 
time of the Prophet caused special reverence to be 
paid to it, and the sanctity of the mosque was concen- 
trated round this and around the mihrab. The gover- 
nor of Kufa, Khalid b. c Abd Allah al-Kasri (105- 
20/723-38), received a letter of censure from the 
caliph because he had prayed for water on the minbar 
(Kamtl, 20, 15). A false oath taken on or beside the 
minbar of the Prophet absolutely led to hell (Ibn Sa c d, 
i/1, 10, 3 f., 12, 19 f.; Ibn Hanbal, Musnad, ii, 329; 
cf. J. Pedersen, Der Eid bei den Semiten, 144, 147). 
Legends grew up which represented the Prophet see- 
ing into the future from the minbar (al-Bukharl, 
Djum Q a, bab 29) and being able to follow the battle of 
Mu 3 ta \q.v.\ from it (cf. al-Wakidl, tr. Wellhausen, 
311; Ibn Hisham, 796) and also telling how his 
prayers on the minbar were specially efficacious. 

Just as the Ka c ba was covered (kasa), so was the 
same thing done to the minbar. c Uthman is said to 
have been the first to cover the minbar of the Prophet 
with a katifa (Khamis, ii, 75, 1 from below). Mu c awiya 
did the same thing when he had to give up his attempt 
to abolish it (ibid., 76, 4; al-Tabarl, ii, 92, 4). It was 
not quite the same thing when al-Hakim rediscovered 
the already-mentioned iron minbar and covered it with 
gilded leather because it was covered with dirt (read: 
kadhar) i.e. rust (Ibn Taghnbirdl, i, 79, 5 f.). Under 
the c Abbasids, a new kiswa was sent every year for the 
minbar of the Prophet from Baghdad; the sultans later 
did not renew it so frequently (Wiistenfeld, Medina, 
64). We find other references to the covering of the 
minbar on special occasions (Ibn Djubayr, 149, 16). 
Ibn al-Hadjdj (Madkhal, ii, 74) demands that the imam 
should put a stop to the custom of putting carpets on 

the article, see C.H. Becker, Die Kanzel im Kultus des 
alien Islam, in Orientalische Studien Th. Noldeke ... 
gewidmel, Giessen 1906, i, 331-51 = Islamstudien, i, 

450-71; Caetani, Annali dell' Islam, i, 533, 739, ii, 
68-9, 87, 213-14; H. Lammens, Mo c dwia, 63, 204- 
8, 273; J. Horovitz, in hi, xvi (1927), 257-60). 
(J. Pedersen) 
2. Architectural features: the Arab, Persian 
and Turkish lands. 

As noted in 1 . above, the minbar was in early times 
used as a seat by the ruler or his governor, from which 
he addressed the Muslims at the Friday worship, con- 
sonant with the use of mosques in the Umayyad 
period as places of political assembly also (see 
masdjid. I. E. 1, and J. Sauvaget, La Mosquee 
OmeyyadedeMMine, Paris 1947, 134-5, 142-4). Accord- 
ing to C.H. Becker, the change in the purpose of the 
minbar from the ruler's or governor's seat to the purely 
religious pulpit occurred towards the end of the 
Umayyad period (Die Kanzel im Kultus des alien Islam, 
in Orientalische Studien Th. Nbldeke... gewidmet, Giessen 
1906, i, 344-7). Unfortunately, we do not have any 
examples or even descriptions of how minbars looked 
during the Umayyad period. Evidently it took some 
time before minbars were generally in use. In 132/749- 
50 provincial cities in Egypt were provided with min- 
bars by order of Marwan II, and we may therefore 
presume that they became standard mosque furniture 
in other parts of the Islamic world as well. 

Little is known of minbars during the c Abbasid 
period. It is reported that the caliph al-Mahdi ordered 
Muhammad b. Abi Dja c far al-Mansur in 161/777-8 
to reduce the height of minbars to make them the same 
size as that of the Prophet (al-MakrizI, Khitat, Bulak 
1853, ii, 247). This incident would suggest that min- 
bars at that time were high, a possibility borne out by 
the fact that the Great Mosque of Samarra had, 
according to its kibla wall plan, a minbar which, on 
architectural evidence, was about 3.90 m high (J. 
Schacht, An unknown type of Minbar and its historical 
significance, in Ars Orientalis, ii [1957], 156). The only 
surviving minbar from the early period of Islam is in 
the Great Mosque of Kayrawan in Tunisia. Made of 
teak and measuring 3.31 m with eleven steps, it is a 
magnificent example of carved woodwork. It is said to 
have been brought from Baghdad by the Aghlabid 
amir Abu Ibrahim Ahmad (242-249/856-63), and was 
probably completed in 248/862-3 (K.A.C. Creswell, 
Early Muslim architecture, Oxford 1940, ii, 314, 317-19, 
pis. 89, 90). It is the earliest extant example to have 
the basic elements of a wooden minbar, that is, a plat- 
form with steps and a portal without a door at the 
entrance to the steps. The framework consists of 
upright and transverse strips of wood with rectangular 
and triangular panels fitted in by the tongue-and- 
groove technique. The framework is decorated with 
vine tendrils forming circular loops enclosing a vine 
leaf and bunch of grapes, a composition found in the 
tie beams of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Most 
of the panels on the minbar are geometric grilles, but 
on the eastern side there are ten very beautiful panels 
carved in arabesque. The naturalistic style of the 
design on these ten panels and, in particular, the pine 
cones encircled by vines, recall wooden panels found 
near Baghdad. In Creswell's view, the resemblance 
strongly suggests that the ten panels were carved 
there. E. Kiihnel has pointed out that their ornamen- 
tation resembles that of the Umayyad palace at 
Mushatta {q.v. ] (Die Islamische Kunst, in A. Springer, 
Handbuch der Kunstgeschichte, Leipzig 1929, vi, 385). E. 
Diez remarked on the dissimilarity of the style of the 
naturalistic panels to the more abstract style of the 
early c Abbasid period typified in the stucco and wood 
decoration in Samarra, and believed that some of the 

carved strips and panels may have belonged to an 
Umayyad minbar before being assembled in the pres- 
ent structure (EI', minbar, at iii, 500). The minbar has 
been subjected to damage and restoration and, partic- 
ularly, it must have been restored after Kayrawan was 
sacked by the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir in 
441/1049-50 (H. Saladin, La Mosquee de Sidi Okba a 
Kairouan, Paris 1899, 8, 104). According to Creswell, 
in the repairs of 1907 the panels were replaced in a 
new order. The rectangular panels with geometric 
designs, which are of varying quality, are difficult to 
date, and whilst some are more recent, others appear 
to have been made at an early period (L. Golvin, Essai 
sur I 'architecture religieuse musulmane, Paris 1970, 228). 

In early Islamic times, some minbars were movable, 
which would at once indicate that they were made of 
very light material, probably wood. Judging from the 
form and size of the kibla wall in the Great Mosque of 
Samarra, it must have had a movable minbar which 
was kept in a special room close to the mihrdb 
(Schacht, op. cit., 156). The minbar of the Ka c ba in 
Mecca was on wheels and was normally kept in the 
makam Ibrahim [q.v.], but was pushed out to stand 
beside the Ka c ba for the Friday sermon (Ibn Djubayr, 
Rihla 2 , ed. M.J. de Goeje, Leiden and London 1907, 
95, 97). This was presumably the minbar donated by 
the c Abbasid caliph al-Wathik (227-32/841-7) 
(Schacht, op. cit, 157). The practice of moving min- 
bars in and out of the assembly area has actually sur- 
vived in certain parts of the Islamic world, mainly in 
North Africa. Few early ones remain, but the 
existence of a recess to the right of the kibla wall of 
some Friday Mosques proves that the original minbars 
of these mosques were movable. The series of 
movable minbars begins with that of the Great Mosque 
of Sfax built in 235/849, which has a recess for the 
minbar (see Schacht, op. cit., 149 ff., for this and fur- 
ther examples). 

Since the minbar was a symbol of authority, where 
the governor sat as representative of the ruling power, 
it was therefore an important feature of the Masdjid-i 
Djami c when the community gathered to be officially 
addressed. Al-Mukaddasi refers to the minbar as an 
object of high regard in Muslim communities. A 
township, for instance, could only be called a city if it 
enjoyed the right to possess a minbar and held public 
assemblies. He frequently categorises towns according 
to whether they had a minbar or not. The significance 
of a minbar was such that in Iran townships fought 
hard for the right to have one. Several references from 
al-Mukaddasi indicate that the number of minbars in 
a city was a sign of its prosperity (193, 261-2, 267, 
273, 282, 306, 309). 

No minbar survives from the early period in Iran, 
but Ibn Funduk mentions that he saw a minbar in the 
Adlna Mosque' in Sabzawar dated 266/879 (Tdrikh-i 
Bayhak, ed. K.S.K. Husayni, Hyderabad 1968, 86). 
He also adds that the name of the ruler of Khurasan, 
Ahmad al-KhudjistanT, who held power there during 
the reign of the caliph al-Mu c tamid [see khudjistan], 
was written on it. The earliest surviving minbar in Iran 
is in the Djami c Mosque of Shushtar and is dated 
Safar 445/May-June 1053 (N. Meshkati, A list of the 
historical sites and ancient monuments of Iran, tr. H.A. Pes- 
syan, Tehran 1974, 109). It is an early example of a 
minbar decorated with star- and polygon-shaped 
panels, filled with arabesque interlace pattern, fitted 
by the tongue-and-groove technique covering the 
sides, a type of decoration which became popular in 
Egypt, Syria, Turkey and other parts of the Islamic 
world from the 5th/ 11th century onwards. No other 
minbar with this type of decoration is known in Iran 

from the Saldjuk period. In central Iran, five minbars 
survive from the period of Saldjuk rule. All of these 
reveal the same structure as that at Kayrawan, 
namely, a flight of steps with posts at their entrance 
leading up to the speaker's seat, which consists of a 
platform supported on four posts. The minbars are on 
a smaller scale than that of Kayrawan, but the sides, 
consisting of carved rectangular panels, are similar 
(for a detailed description and analysis of these Ira- 
nian minbars, see J. Golmohammadi, Wooden religious 
buildings and carved woodwork in central [ran, Ph.D. diss., 
Univ. of London 1988, unpubl.). One of the earliest 
of these five is the minbar in the Masdjid-i Djami c in 
Abyana, dated 466/1077. The second, dated 
543/1 148, is in the Imamzada Isma c Tl in Barz, and the 
third, dated 583/1187, is in the Masdjid-i Pa'In in 
Fanzhand. All these three minbars are in the Natanz 
region. The minbar in the Masdjid-i Djami c in 
Muhammadiyya near Na'In, and that called the 
Sahib-i Minbar in a building attached to the 
Husayniyya in Fanzhand , have no dates, but they 
may be attributed to the 5th-6th/l lth- 12th centuries 
on account of the use of the bevelled technique of car- 
ving in the arabesque decoration, and in the case of 
the Sahib-i Minbar, the style of the Kufic inscription. 
A notable and important feature of these five Iranian 
minbars is the application of a so-called "bevelled" 
style of carving. This particular decorative technique 
was identified by E. Herzfeld as found on the stucco 
decoration of Samarra (Die Ausgrabungen von Samarra, i, 
Berlin 1923, 5-8, 10-14). It consists of patterns cut at 
a deep slant giving contrast of light and shade The 
patterns, often repeated and separated by curving 
lines, were covered with dots, notches and slits and 
rows of beads or pearls were frequently used as a 
decorative border. While this style and technique was 
first used in Samarra during the 3rd/9th century, it 
survived in Iran, as R. Ettinghausen has pointed out, 
in a somewhat modified form, losing its repetitive- 
arrangements, during the 5th-6th/l lth-12th centuries 
(The "Beveled Style" in the post-Samarra period, in 
Archaeologica orientalia in memoriam Ernest Herzfeld, New 
York 1952, 76-81). This style of carvingwas out- 
moded in Egypt by the late 5th/l lth century, but we 
can still observe it in other parts of the Islamic world 
right up to the end of the 6th- 12th century, although 
the bevelling tended to be considerably shallowei 

The minbar of the Masdjid-i Djami c in Abyana is 
perhaps one of the most outstanding works of the 
bevelled style still surviving in Iran. Its panels are 
carved with deeply bevelled patterns, including 
abstract leaves with spiral tips, which can be traced 
back to the stucco decoration of Samarra. Also 

c Amadiyya in c Irak, dated 548/1153 (Ettinghausen, 
op. cit., 74, PI. X). Here polygonal panels set in a 
plain frame are decorated with semi-palmettes with 
al tips within curving scrolls. In Turkey there is a 
bar from Malatya, which is now preserved in the 
Ethnographic Museum in Ankara (G. Oney, Anadolu 
Selcuklu mimarisinde siisleme ve el sanatlari, Ankara 1978, 
115). It has small polygonal pieces set in a plain 
framework carved in the bevelled style. The field of 
the panels is made up of deeply incised small scale 
arabesques with bevelled surfaces. It has been 
attributed to the 7th/13th century, but Ettinghausen 

n Catalog 

lu Must 

lu Caire 

I. pi. I 

nos. 4627, 4630, and pi. IV, no. 4739). 

Although the Barz minbar has bevelled panels, the 
decoration is mainly arabesque interlace, showing the 
influence of new decorative trends. This minbar is also 
notable for its balustrade, which is composed of a lat- 
tice grille made up of geometric patterns formed by 
small pieces of turned wood fixed to each other by the 
technique that is well-known in the mashrabiyya [q.o.] 
work of Egypt; this is the earliest known dated exam- 
ple of such work in Iran. The existence of these min- 
bars is significant, since they pre-date the Mongol 
invasion; it was previously thought that all Saldjuk 

The bevelled style of carving can further be 
observed on the minbar in the Great Mosque of 

ectly r 

t be e 

namely dating from the 6th/12th c< 
So far no other dated piece of woodwork carved with 
the bevelled style is known from the 7th/13th century; 
Ettinghausen's dating appears therefore justified. 

The structure and decoration of the sides of minbars 
began to change towards the end of the 5th/l lth cen- 
tury, when there appeared a new method of construc- 
tion and design. This was to cover the sides with small 
pieces of wood in the shape of stars and polygons. The 
earliest known example of this type is the minbar of the 
Masdjid-i Djami c in Shushtar already mentioned. 
The new composition appears in its fully developed 
form on the Fatimid minbar of the Shrine of al-Husayn 
at Askelon, now preserved in the Museum of Hebron 
(L.H. Vincent and E.J.H. Mackay, Le Haram el 
Khalil,, Paris 1923, 219-25, pis. 
XXV-XXVII). It is dated 484/1091-2. The entire 
surface of the sides is covered with elaborate 
geometrical patterns composed of small polygonal 
pieces of wood fitted into incised strapwork by the 
tongut and groove technique. The main elements of 

pointed stars Each of the polygonal pieces is filled 




;, how- 

in deep straight cuttings. Another interesting feature 
of this minbar is its balustrade grille composed as a 
mashrabiyya, making it a very early dated example of 
such work The present canopy and door of the minbar 
arc latei probably of the Mamluk period. 

During the Fatimid period in Egypt, the system of 
decoration was to continue appearing in two early 
minbars, that in St. Catherine's Monastery on Mt. 
Smai dated 500/1106, and that in the Mosque of c Amr 
in Kiis dated 550/1155 (C.J. Lamm, Fatimid wood- 
work, its style and chronology, in Bull, de I'lnst. d'Egypte, 
xmii [1935-6], 78). The latter example has a pavilion 
over the speaker's seat, and the decoration at the back 
of the seat recalls a mihrab. From the Fatimid period 
onwards, the minbar developed its standard form, 
having a domed canopy over the speaker's seat, a 
doorway and decorative elements consisting of stars 
and polygons made up of small carved pieces of wood. 
This form was to become standard in Syria and 
Turkey as well as Egypt. A good example of this type 
is the minbar of the Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem, which 
was donated in 564/1 168 by Nur al-Dm to Aleppo and 
later taken by Salah al-DIn to Jerusalem (ibid, 88). 

A popular decorative feature of the 6th/12th cen- 

pearl, appears on this same minbar (M.S. Briggs, 
Muhammadan architecture in Egypt and Palestine, New 
York 1974, 216). Later on, Mamluk minbars were 
noted for their elaborate inlay work, which included 
not only ivory and mother-of-pearls, but also ebony 
and bone. Such minbars are to be found in the mosques 
of Ibn Tulun and Salih TalaV in Cairo (L. 
Hautecoeur and G. Wiet, Les Mosquees du Caire, Paris 
1932, pis. 82, 85). Towards the end of the Mamluk 

period, we witness the decline of both carved and 
inlay decoration. The minbar from the Mosque of 
Ka'it-Bay, now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in 
London, dated 872/1468-9, is a good example of these 
late Mamluk works (V. and A., no. 1050-1869). 

In Iran, star and polygon decoration was slow to 
become popular. Thus the minbar of the Masdjid-i 
Djami c in Na'Tn dated 711/1311-12 has sides still con- 
structed with rectangular panels rather than stars and 
polygons (M.B. Smith, The wood minbar in the Masdjid-i 
Djami\ Na>in, in Ars Islamica, v[1938], 21-2, figs. 1-7). 
Part of its carved decoration consists of chains of 
lozenges or leaves, filled with comma-like volutes, 
which reflect a style that became popular in Iran 
during the 8th/l+th century. It also has a lattice-work 
balustrade with a geometrical design made up of slats. 
~' " mple of this type of lattice-work in 


which w 

sed for 

and balcony balustrades. Another outstanding minbai 
from this post-Mongol period in Iran is that of the 
Masdjid-i ]Djami c of Suryan in Fars, now preserved in 
the Iran-Bastan Museum in Tehran (S.M.T. 
Mustafawi, Iklim-i Pars, Tehran 13+3 sh/1964, tr. 
R.N. Sharp, The land of Pars, Chippenham 1978, 5). 
According to its inscription, it was made in 771/1369. 
It is distinguished by the use on its sides of the star and 
polygon style, which was by that time applied in 

lother feati 

of this 

the distinctly floral element of its carved decoration, 
which was later to become characteristic of the 
Tlmurid period. The minbar o{ the Mosque of Gawhar 
Shad in the sanctuary of the Imam Rida in Mashhad 
made in 840-50/1436-46 is a fine Tlmurid piece. It is 
distinguished by profuse ornamentation of star and 
polygon patterns with tendrils carved in relief in the 
TTmurid style (Diez, op. cit.; 500). This minbar is 
unusual in Iran in having a canopy, in this case sur- 
mounted by a crown of stalactites (EI', Mihrdb, fig. 8, 
which shows the minbar). 

Wooden minbars carved to a very high standard 
were also produced in Anatolia. Wood was plentiful 
there, so its use for mosque furniture is easily under- 
standable. One of the earliest wooden minbars in 
Anatolia is in the Alaeddin Mosque, Konya, and is 
dated 550/1155 (J.H. Loytved, Konia. Inschriften der 
Seldschukidischen Bauten, Berlin 1907, 22-4). It is made 
of walnut wood, and apart from its intricately carved 
star and polygon decoration it has a balustrade grille 
with a Kur'anic inscription on the rails and a cusped 
arch with panels over the entrance. It bea 

cular r< 
o the S 


n fact 

n the 

o-Egyptian form. Minbars of the Alaeddin type 
became increasingly popular in Anatolia during the 
7th-8th/ 13th- 14th centuries. A good example of these 
is the minbar of the Ulu Cami of Siirt, now in the 
Ethnographic Museum in Ankara, which is carved to 
a very high standard (E. Akurgal, The art and architec- 
ture of Turkey, Oxford 1980, 202). Similar minbars still 
kept in their original places are those of the Ulu Cami 
of Sivrihisar dated 670/1272, and that of the Esrefoglu 
Cami in Beysehir dated 696-8/1297-9. The tongue- 
and-groove technique, which is called kundekari in 
Turkish, was applied to a full extent in the decoration 
of these minbars. It is remarkable, however, that in 
Anatolia a kind of false kundekari was also frequently 
used, most likely for the reason that it cut the cost. 
Large panels were carved in polygonal patterns and 
mounted on the skeleton structure of the minbar. 
Sometimes the geometric patterns were made 
separately and glued on to the background. Small 
strips of incised wood were nailed between them to 

give the appearance of strapwork and also to hide the 
joins in the panels. This method, however, does not 
prevent warping, and in time slits appeared between 
the panels. Examples of such false kundekari technique 
can be seen on the minbars of the Alaeddin Mosque, 
Ankara (594/1197-8), the Ulu Cami, Divrigi 
(626/1228-9), and the Ahi Elvan Mosque, Ankara 
784/1382 (Akurgal, op. at., 202). 

Although minbars were most commonly made of 
wood, they were also constructed of other materials, 
such as brick, ceramic and stone. Al-MukaddasI, 77, 
mentions one in c Arafa (in the Hidjaz) which was 
made of bricks. There is also an undated brick minbar 
in the 4th/10th century Tarikhana Mosque in 
Damghan, though it appears to be much later than 
the building itself. (R. Hillenbrand, The mosque in the 
medieval Islamic world, in Architecture in continuity. 
Building in the Islamic world today. The Aga Khan Award 
for Architecture, ed. S. Cantacuzino, New York 1985, 
37). In central Iran, there are five known examples of 
ceramic tiled minbars dating from the period ca. 1+45- 
1525 A.D. (B. O'Kane, The tiled Minbars of Iran, in 
Annales Islamologiques, xxii [1986], 133-53, pis. 
XXXVI-XLIII). All are decorated with variations on 
a design of eight and twelve pointed stars, which 
include patterns of light blue stems with amber and 
white flowers, and floral arabesques of amber and 
light blue on a dark blue ground. Some have inscrip- 
tions giving the name of the donor, or of holy figures 
or religious texts. The finest is in the Masdjid-i 
Maydan in Kashan and is decorated with mosaic 
faience of a standard far above average. One inscrip- 
tion on the left-hand side gives the name of the crafts- 
man as Haydar, the tile-cutter, and another inscrip- 

reign of Sultan Abu Sa c !d Gurgan, which has led 
O'Kane to date the minbar to the year before Sultan 
Aba Sard's death in 874/1469, when he was briefly 
ruler of the area. The minbar of the mosque of the 
khanagah of Bundirabad is the largest of the five, and 
is dated by O'Kane to about the time of the repair 
works to the mosque itself, carried out in 848/1+73. 
These tiled minbars belong to a period of growing use 
" " ' archite 

it for long, probably 

The taste for them c 
because there was a n 
circumstances. There are two late examples of tiled 
minbars from Khiwa. one in the summer mosque of 
the Old Arg, which is datable to the 1820s and the 
other in an unidentifiable building also probably 19th 
century. Both are low with four steps (O'Kane, op. 
at, 153). 

There are a number of stone minbars in the Islamic 
world, such as those of the Shaykhu. Aksunkur and 
Khatiri Mosques in Egypt. Perhaps the most famous 
is in the mosque of Sultan Hasan dated 757-64/- 
1356-63 (Hautecoeur and Wiet, op. cit., 103, 300, pis. 
119, 132). The Mosque of Barkuk in the Cemetery of 
the Caliphs, dated 806-13/1403-10, has a fine stone 

arved v, 

;, the 

sides in particular having star and polygon designs 
similar to those on woodwork. It resembles the carved 
stone minbar in the Mosque of Shaykhu dated 
750/1349 in having a door with a stalactite portal and 
canopy surmounted by an onion-shaped dome (ibid. , 
261, 300, 314, 334, pis. 119, 157). 

The Friday mosque of Harat had a marble minbar 
of great beauty, which now no longer exists, carved 
for it at the end of the 9th/15th century by the 
stonemason Shams al-DIn (Khuldsal al-akhbar, part of 
Kh w andamlr's general history describing Harat, ed. 
G. I c timadl, Kabul 1345 jA/1966, 12). A.D.H. Bivar 

has drawn attention to the stone minbar of the Muzaf- 
farid Ahmad dated 789/1387-8 in Slrdjan (see 
kitabat, pi. XXIII, 29). 

The earliest stone minbar in Anatolia is in the Alaed- 
din Mosque in Nigde dated 620/1223. The minbar is 
simple with no decoration except arabesques carved 
on the stone balustrade (A. Gabriel, Monuments turcs 
d'Anatolie, Kayseri-Nigde, Paris 1931, i, 120, 122, pi. 
XXXVI). Marble and stone minbars were mainly 
popular in the Ottoman period. The Mosques ot 
BayazTd and Mehmed Pasha in Amasya, both dated 
891/1486, have fine marble minbars of high-quality 
workmanship. The minbar of the latter is particularly 
notable for its rich floriated decoration (Gabriel, op 
cit., ii, 37-8, 43, pis. VI-2, VII-2). The most 
interesting minbar is in the Selimiye Mosque in Edirne 
dated 961/1574, and is superior in its size, beauty and 

single block of stone, and the side is dominated by an 
equilateral triangle containing a sun disc. The fretted 
border and balustrade are -composed of traditional 
polygonal designs and the conical canopy decorated 
with ceramic tiles. The stone minbar in the Sokollu 
Mosque in Istanbul dated 980/1572 also has a tiled 

imitating those in woodwork (G. Goodwin, A history of 
Ottoman architecture, London 1971, 264-5, 274, pis. 
253, 261; O. Aslanapa, Turkish art and architecture, 
London 1971, 223, 225, pis. 174, 178). 
Bibliography: Given in the text. 


3. In India. 

In the various building styles of India (as defined in 
hind, vii) the typology of the minbar is very variable, 
from a crude construction of three simple stone steps 
to elaborately carved canopied structures of nine steps 
or more. Stone is always the preferred material, even 
in the brick-building region of Bengal; however, the 

have survived. 

Dihli sultanate. In none of the earliest mosques 
is there an original minbar (that in the Djama c at- 
Khana at Nizamuddin, the oldest mosque still in wor- 
ship, is a modern replacement; old photographs, how- 
ever, show a simple minbar of three stone slabs). This 
pattern is maintained up to the LodT period, to judge 
by a very few extant examples in Dihli (e.g. mosque 
at Bafa gumbad; mosque at the ba>6li known as 
Radjon ki ba°in); only in the special case of the Hdgah 
attributed to Mulla Ikbal Khan is there a more 
elaborate structure, a tall stone platform level with the 
top of the mihrdb arch whence the voice of the khatib 
might reach the great concourse gathered for the Hd 
assembly. Outside Dihli itself, the minbar of the 
Djami c mosque of Iric, 815/1412, is a massive stone 
structure of seven steps, the last extended to a square 
platform supported on pillars. 

Among the regional styles, no early mosques 
remain in the Pandjab. 

Bengal shows excellent early examples of canopied 
minbars; the earliest, in carved basalt, in the Ban 
masdxid in Chot'a Pandu'a [see pandu'a, Chota] of the 
early 8th/14th century, has nine steps leading to a 
domed upper chamber, with arched openings on three 
sides and what appears to be a mihrdb representation 
against the western wall of the prayer-chamber. This 
design was followed in the great Adina masdjid of 
Hadrat Pandu 3 a [see pandu'a] of 776/1374-5, where 
as Ravenshaw's photograph shows Q.H. Ravenshaw, 

Gaur: its ruins and inscriptions, London 1878) the mihrab- 
like decoration on the western wall is carved with the 
representation of a hanging lamp, and the outer sur- 
face carved with geometrical diaper patterns. Similar 
but plainer is the minbar of the nearby Kutb Shahl 
(Ravenshaw's "Golden") mosque, 993/1585. Further 
instances of this type occur; but there are also many 
simple minbars of three simple stone slabs. One late 
aberrant minbar, in the mosque of Muhammad b. 
Tipu Sultan, 1258/1842, consists of three polished 
stone steps occupying half of the central mihrdb, space 
having been severely limited by the neo-Palladian 
design of this building. 

In the few remaining buildings of the Djawnpur 
sultanate, in Djawnpur itself, in the Djami c mosque at 
Itawa, and in the Afha'I kangura mosque at Kashi, 
Banaras, the minbar takes the form of a massive stone 
structure of nine steps up to a square stone platform, 
with no trace of there ever having been a canopy. The 
typological similarity to the Iric example mentioned 
above points to a geographical rather than a dynastic 
determinant of style. 

The favourite style of minbar in the Gudjarat 
sultanate is again the massive stone nine-stepped 
structure, although as Ahmad Shah's mosque, the 
earliest in Ahmadabad (816/1414), shows, the upper 
platform was covered by a canopy; the canopy may be 
taken entirely from a Hindu temple mandapa, sup- 
ported by pillaged pillars, although even when 
purpose-quarried stones are used they are often 
elaborately carved in accordance with the 
characteristic richness of the Gudjarat style. The steps 
may further be enclosed by stone sides to form hand- 
rails, again with carved surfaces. In many mosques 
the canopies have been removed, probably when 
many fine stone buildings were plundered during the 
early years of Marat'ha rule in the early 12th/18th cen- 
tury. A feature found in many Gudjarat mosques is 
the presence of a low square platform in front of the 
lowest step of the minbar; its original purpose is not 

with mats and used to seat young students when the 

a Kur 3 ; 

In Malwa the canopied minbar is again the pre- 
ferred style, as exemplified in that of the early mosque 
of Malik Mughith at Mandu, 835/1432, where the 
upper platform is surmounted by a square roof resting 
on pillars which appears to be temple spoil, with 
projecting eaves and a parapet surmounted by a row 
of shield-shaped merlons; to the west the wall takes the 
form of a mihrdb of black polished basalt, with the 
characteristic Malwa row of merlons in low relief. 
This is surpassed by the magnificient minbar of the 
Djami c mosque (completed 858/1454), perhaps the 
finest in the sub-continent: eleven steps lead to the 
upper platform, originally railed on north and south; 
the three open sides are of the same shape as the 
arches of the mihrdbs, slightly ogival; the canopy itself 
has its eaves supported by sinous brackets, of the same 
shape as those in the Djami c mosque of Dhar and of 
Hushang's tomb in Mandu; above the row of merlons 
there is a marble dome of the characteristic Malwa 
shape, i.e. stilted below the haunch by being raised on 
a cylindrical drum. Here, as in the Gudjarat mosques, 
there is again a square low platform at the foot of the 
minbar steps. At Canderi [q.v.\ the minbar of the 
Djami c mosque is typologically similar, but without 
the sinuous brackets and more solidly built (now 
whitewashed); that of the great Hdgdh similar but 
plainer, and of only eight massive steps (the even 
number is unusual). 

In the Deccan, however, the minbar is usually of 


the plain pattern of th 




: steps; 


Gulbarga (769/1367), and others in Bidar. In the 
massive Hdgah at BTdjapur [q.v.], certainly of BahmanT 
date, the minbar has nine stone steps leading to an 
open platform; in the arched opening of the west wall 
behind it is a flight of smaller steps leading to the top 
of thewall. In the buildings at Bldjapur (and Gogi) of 
the c Adil Shahis, the most ornate of the Deccan 
styles, the minbar remains of the simple pattern of 
three (occasionally five) stone steps, and the same is 
true of the Kutb Shah! mosques of Haydarabad. 

Throughout the Mughal period, the minbar is of 
the stepped uncovered type. Sometimes, as at the 
Djami' mosque in Fathpur SikrT, the massive red 
sandstone steps have small pierced screens at their 
sides; in the time of Shahdjahan, when many 
modifications were also made to earlier buildings, the 
minbar is often a simple structure of three steps but 
built of polished, sometimes also inlaid, marble, and 
a few have a chair-like back slab which may carry a 
brief inscription. The_ Djami' mosques of Dihli 
(Shahdjahanabad) and Agra each have a central plat- 
form, approached by steps, in the sahn, outside the 
prayer-chamber, which may fulfil the functional pur- 
worshippers to be addressed, even though there is a 
minbar in its normal position within the prayer- 


d T. Yam; 


Bibliography: For 
and for many illustrations, se< 
above. To this should now be a< 
M. Ara and T. Tsukinowa, Delhi: architectural 
remains of the Delhi sultanate period, i, Tokyo 1967 (in 
Japanese); Catherine B. Asher, Inventory of key 
monuments, in G. Michell (ed.), The Islamic heritage of 
Bengal, UNESCO, Paris 1984; J. Burton-Page, 
Mosques and tombs, in Medieval Ahmadabad = Marg, 
xxxix/3, 30-119. For Iric, see J.F. Blakison, The 
Jami Masjid at Budaun and other buildings in the United 
Provinces = MASl, xix, Calcutta 1926. Information 
on Itawa and Banaras from personal photographic 
collection. 0- Burton-Page) 

4. In East Africa. 

Several different types of minbar are to be found on 
the East African coast. One type is apparently 
peculiar to it. In the Middle Ages and up to the 19th 
century the greatest number of Friday mosques had a 

Kisimkazi, Zanzibar, there is only one step and a seat, 
while at Kua, Juani Island, Mafia, and at Mgao 
Mwanya, on the Tanzanian mainland, there are three 
steps and a seat. In all these cases the lowest step is 
very shallow, and is known in Swahili as kiapo, or 
place for taking solemn oaths. The person taking the 
oath stands on the lowest step, and touches the minbar. 
A brief account of Swahili oaths is given by Mtoro bin 
Mwenyi Bakari of Bagamoyo, Tanzania, in C. 
Velten, Desluri za Wasuaheli, Gdttingen 1903, 273-7, 
but without explanation of the ritual. 

The later Friday mosque at Ungwana, Kenya, built 
ca. 1500-50, is alone in its period in having seven 
stone steps and a seat at the top, with masonry sides 
formerly surmounted by a wooden handrail. In recent 
times similar stone minbars have been constructed in 
mosques in the Lamu archipelago. 

arise from any distase for wood, but because it is 
vulnerable to the white ant, ubiquitous in eastern 
Africa. The wooden minbar in the Friday mosque at 
Lamu is dated by an inscription 917/1511, and that at 

Siu 930/1523, both of these being in Kenya. At 
Magogoni, a small village near Dar es Salaam, Tan- 
zania, a portable minbar is used on feast days. It con- 
sists of a simple wooden upright chair constructed on 
a fiat pedestal, the latter projecting to form a step in 
front, and the space between the legs being enclosed 
to form a cupboard. It is of recent and rough con- 
In a number of Friday mosques, however, the min- 
bar takes the form of a recess, or of a raised platform 
within a recess built out behind the kibla wall. It may 
led by a staircase within its recess, or by a 

; froi 

iside the 

. The r, 

ight-hand side of the 
provided with a balustrade for 
Where the staircase leads out 

the imam, for whom often an 
ovided. The dating of minbars 
i, but local tradition, which is 

resembles a v 
mihrdb. It is so 
the preacher t< 

or office for tl 
external door 

probably correct, assigns their construction to the end 
of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. 
Bibliography: J.S. Kirkman, Gedi: the Great 
Mosque, London 1954, 2, 6 and pi. IIA; J. Schacht, 
An unknown type of Minbar and its historical significance, 
in Ars Orientalis, ii (1957), 149-73, with numerous 
illustrations; Kirkman, Ungwana on the Tana, The 
Hague 1966, 28, 34, 35; P.S. Garlake, The early 
Islamic architecture of the East African coast, London 
1966, 85-6 and pi. XIII, figs. 4, 21, 23, 24, 42, 43, 
44. 45, 52, 53, 55, 56, 69; G.S.P. Freeman- 
Grenville and B.G. Martin, A preliminary handlist of 
the Arabic inscriptions of the Eastern African coast, in 
JRAS (1973). (G.S.P. Freeman-Grenville) 

MINDANAO [see Philippines]. 

MINAEANS [see ma'InJ. 


MINIATURE [see taswIr], 

MINICOY, an isolated coral atoll, t 

uthernmost of the Indian Lakshadvip group [s 

■ccadives], situated in the south-eastern Arabi 

off the coast of Malabar [q. 

ong. 73°19'E. The atoll comprises two islands— tf 

main, inhabited island of Minicoy (known to i 

inhabitants as Maliku), and the much smalle 

uninhabited islet of Vilingili, marked on Britis 

Admiralty maps as "Small-pox Island" (a referent 

:o its former use by the islanders 



ral r 

;losing a 

broad lagoon. Maliku Island, an elongated c: 
forming the southern and eastern rim of the atoll, is 
just over 6 miles/9.6 km long, but only half-a-mile/0.8 
km across at its widest point; the total land area is 
about 1,120 acres/500 hectares, whilst according to 
the 1971 Census of India, the population totalled 5.342 
persons (2,433 male and 2,909 female). 

Little is known of the early history of Minicoy, 
which— in contrast to the more northerly, 
Malayalam-speaking, Dravidian-populated islands of 
the Lakshadvip group — was settled by Indo- 
European, Divehi-speaking Maldivian people, proba- 
bly in the first centuries A.D., though whether these 
early settlers migrated directly from Malabar, or via 
Sri Lanka and the neighbouring Maldive Islands 
[q. v.] remains uncertain. It is clear, however, that 
until the mid-10th/16th century the people of Minicoy 
remained culturally and politically attached to the 
Maldives, sharing a common ethnic origin, language, 
script, and religion; thus archaeological evidence 
indicates the former presence of Hinduism and Bud- 

. Mtnbar of the Masdjid-i DjamiS Abyana (Photo.: J. Golmohammadi) 

minbar of the Masdjid-i Maydan, Kashan (Photo.: B. O'Kane) 

3. Minbar of the Shrine of al-Husayn at 'Askalan (Photo.: B. O'Kane) 

4. Minbar of the Sultan Hasan Mosque, Cairo (Photo.: B. O'Kane) 

5. Minbar of the SMI cUkba Mosque, Kayrawan (Photo.: J. ( 

6. Minbar of the 'Ala' al-Din 

Mosque, Konya (Photo.: Mevlana Museum Knnv^ 


dhism in the atoll, faiths which were fairly rapidly 
eclipsed by the introduction of Islam in the late 
6th/12th century, probably some years after the con- 
version of the Maldivian Sultan Muhammad al- c Adil 
in 548/1153. 

Minicoy's political link with the Maldives became 
increasingly tenuous from the 8th-9th/14th-15th cen- 
turies onwards when certain of the northern Maldi- 
vian atolls (including, most certainly, Minicoy, the 
most isolated area from Male and closest to India of 
the various Maldivian atolls) came under the influ- 
ence of the Malabar principality of Kannanur [q.v.\. 
The process of Minicoy's detachment from the 
Maldives was completed by ca. 973/1565, at which 
time (according to the Maldivian TaMkh, cor- 
roborated by Pyrard and Zayn al-Din) the atoll had 
passed under the rule of the All Radja (or "Azhi- 
Radja", Malayalam: "Sea King") of Kannanur. For 
the next three-and-a-half centuries, Minicoy 
remained attached to the Arakkal rulers of Kannanur. 
By the mid- 19th century, however, Arakkal rule had 
become increasingly a legal fiction, with the British 
authorities sequestrating the atoll in 1861 for a period 
of five years, and again in 1875, on this occasion per- 
manently. In 1908, together with the more southerly 
islands of the Laccadives group, Minicoy was for- 
mally ceded by the Bfbr of Kannanur to the British 
Indian Empire. British rule was maintained until 
Indian independence in 1947. Most recently, in 1956, 
the atoll was incorporated within the Indian Union 
Territory of Lakshadweep (LakshadvTp). 

The indigenous inhabitants of Minicoy (excluding 
only members of the expatriate mainland, 
predominantly Malayali, administration) are, like the 
inhabitants of the Maldive Islands, uniformly Sunni 
Muslims of the Shafi c T madhhab. Religious observances 
and customs — including widespread belief in spirits 
and black and white magic, as well as the institution 
of namad-ge or prayer houses for women — are similar 
to those in the Maldives. Literacy is high (practically 
universal), and most islanders are conversant with 
Arabic script, as well as with their own Maldivian 
language (Divehi, known on Minicoy as "Mahl") 
and Tana script. As in traditional Maldivian society, 
the people of Minicoy are divided into four caste-like 
groups, or classes, viz. Malihhan (the highest group, 
predominantly landowners); Mdlimi (the second 
highest group, expert sailors and navigators, cf. Ar. 
mu c allim); Takkru (the third group, less specialised 
fishermen); and finally Raven (the lowest group, 

isolated Minicoy, caste-like differentiations have per- 
sisted longer than in the Maldives; thus in Minicoy, 
the first two classes may intermarry, as may the last 
two, the child of such a marriage belonging to the c 
of whichever parent is higher. Similarly, the first 

t toge 


the 1 

Doubtless similar restrictions once existed in the 
Maldives, but these have long since disappeared. 
The economy of the island rests on fishing and 

substantial supplementary income is remitted to the 
island by sailors working for the Indian merchant 
navy; the men of Minicoy have long enjoyed a well- 
founded reputation for their seafaring expertise, and 
the widespread and long-standing practice of leaving 
the island to find such work has frequently led to the 
suggestion that Minicoy, bereft of many of its sons at 
work on the high seas, whilst the women traditionally 
till the land, might be identified with Marco Polo's 
"Female Island". 

The people of Minicoy live in one large settlement 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, VII 

spanning the centre of the island at its broadest point. 
This village, with its Djami c Mastoid (Ml. Hukuri 
Miskit) and a number of lesser mosques and namad-ge, 
is divided into nine wards (Ml. atiri), each under its 
own headman (Ml. muppan), the whole island being 
traditionally administered by an amin. Maliku Village 
is remarkable for its cleanliness and order, each atiri 
having its own mosque, bathing tank and cemetery. 
To the north of the village lies the Central and North 
Panddram lands (formerly the property of the Arakkal 
Radjas, but now common land) as well as a former 
leper colony. To the south and west lies the "Big 
South Pandaram" as well as, near the westernmost 
point of the island, Minicoy lighthouse (constructed in 
1882-4), a major navigation point for shipping using 
the Eight Degree and Nine Degree Channels. 

Bibliography: Zayn al-Din, Tohfut almijahideen, 
London 1883; O. Bartholomeusz, Minicoy and its 
people, London 1885; F. Pyrard, The voyage of Fran- 
cois Pyrard de Laval to the East Indies, the Maldives, the 
Moluccas and Brazil, London, Hakluyt Society, 
1888; R.H. Ellis, A short account of the Laccadive 
Islands and Minicoy, Madras 1924; P. Sathikumaran 
Nair, and K.N. P. Namboodiri, Arabikkatalile 
Pavifadvipukal ("Coral islands of the Arabian Sea"), 
Kottayam 1972; N.S. Manadiar, Gazetteer of India: 
Lakshadweep, Coimbatore 1977; A.D.W. Forbes, 
The annexation of Maliku Island, in Sources towards a 
history of the Laccadive Islands = South Asia, NS, ii/1-2 
(1979), 141-2; C. Maloney, People of the Maldive 
Islands, Madras 1980. See also the Bibls. to lac- 
cadives and Maldives. (A.D.W. Forbes) 
al-MINKARI [see nasr b. muzahim]. 
MINTAKAT al-BURUE»I, also mintakat falak al- 
burudl, are all used in Arabic to designate both the 
zodiac and the ecliptic. Strictly speaking, the 
zodiac is a "belt", or "zone", of the sky extending up 
to 6° (more correctly, 7°) north and south of the eclip- 
tic due to the inclination of the orbits of the planets 
from the latter, while the ecliptic is a great circle in the 
sky running through the middle of the zodiacal belt 
and representing the path of the sun (tarikl tarikal al- 
shams) in her apparent annual revolution. The 
knowledge of both the zodiac and the ecliptic was 
received by the Arabic-Islamic culture, through 
translations of scientific writings, from classical 

The ambiguity in the term — it being used for the 
zodiacal belt as well as for the ecliptic circle— existed 
already in antiquity; for greater exactness, therefore, 
the ecliptic specifically was sometimes called "the cir- 
cle running through the middle of the zodiac" (cf. 
RE, art. Zodiakos, ii; iii; v, 1), a formula which is also 
reflected in some Arabic texts (see, e.g., the Arabic 
translation of Ptolemy's Planisphaerium, ms. Istanbul, 
Aya Sofya 2671, fols. 81b, 82a, 83b, etc.: al-ddHra 
allatl tamuriu bi-wasat al-burudx; cf. also al-Kh^arazmi, 
Mafdtih, 221, 6-7: mintakat al-burudx hiya nitak al-burudx 
wa-wasat al-burudx alladhi fihi masir al-shams). 

Other terms for the ecliptic, in Arabic astronomical 
writings, are also falak al-burudx and da>iiat falak al- 
burudi. While in antiquity the zodiacal belt was 
indiscriminately called a "circle" (xuxXo.;), in the 
Islamic period mintaka (lit. "belt") was also used for 
a [great] circle, such as the ecliptic and also the 
equator (cf. al-Birunl, Kanun, i, 54, 14). This use of 

from antiquity, perhaps through Syriac mediation (cf. 
Severus Sebokht, ca. 660 A.D.: hudhre awketh zonas, 
using the Greek word Ciovr), Le Traite sur les Constella- 
tions, ed. F. Nau, ROC, xxvii [1929-30], 


395,9 = Syriac ms. Paris B.N. 346, fol. 103a, 15 f.; 
see also the same author's Traite sur I 'astrolabe plan, ed. 
and tr. F. Nau, inJA [1899], where the zodiac is often 
called "the zone of the zodiac", zona d-zodiakon, 
always using the Greek words, and ch. xxii, where the 
ecliptic and other circles are also called zona, frovri). 
Arabic mintaka (in both senses, as "belt" and "cir- 
cle"), of course, is derived from Greek Z,ti>vt\. A very 
peculiar explanation for the use of mintaka (as "great 
circle") is given by al-BIrunl, Kdnun, i, 54, 14-15: it 
[sc. a great circle] is called mintaka [lit. "belt, girdle"!] 
by comparison, because its location is in the middle 
[i.e. between two poles, just as a girdle is in the middle 
of a person, between head and feet]. 

Babylonia may with great probability be assumed 
to be the original home of the zodiacal circle. The 
period of its origin cannot be fixed with certainty: the 
first attempts at a grouping of the constellations on the 
path of the sun and the planets, however, date from 
before the period of Hammurabi and in any case into 
the third millennium B.C. Almost all the names 
familiar to us are already found in Sumerian inscip- 
tions. The Boghaz-K6y list of about 1300 B.C. gives 
all the signs of the zodiac with the exception of Leo 
and Libra. The ™1apin series (ca. 700 B.C.) shows a 
list of 17 or 18 "constellations in the path of the 
moon", among which all the twelve zodiacal con- 
stellations of later times were contained. The forma- 
tion of the systematic zodiac (and ecliptic), subdivided 
into twelve equal sections of 30° length each, has fol- 
lowed some time later (van der Waerden; for the 
subsequent Greek reception of the zodiac, cf. RE, art. 
Zodiakos, and Scherer). 

The only pictorial representation of the starry 
heavens of the early Muslim period, the fresco on 

shows the ecliptic as a broad band, along which are 
arranged the twelve burudi; it also shows the pole of the 
ecliptic and the 12 (ecliptical) degrees of longitude, as 
well as the equator and a series of parallel circles. The 
peculiarity of the arrangement of the heavens with 
considerable southern latitudes shown beyond the 
equator on the hemispherical inner surface of the 
dome results in the equator and ecliptic not being 
shown as the largest circles. The method of represen- 
ting the separate constellations on the fresco, 
especially the mintaka, is, broadly speaking, the same 
as that on the Atlas Farnese. (N.B. It should be 
noted that the fresco of Kusayr c Amra represents the 
heavens as seen on a celestial globe.) For more details, 
see Saxl and also Beer. 

The twelve burudi. For exact astronomical and 
astrological observations and calculations, the zodiac 
and the ecliptic are both divided into 12 equal sections 
of 30° length each, the so-called zodiacal signs 
(Greek 8<o8tx<x-n)96pia), each of which was named in 
antiquity after the constellation lying next to it. Thus 
besides the twelve zodiacal signs (each of equal 
length, and invariably fixed in their location with 
respect to the vernal equinox), we have the twelve 
zodiacal constellations which are of various dimen- 
sions and are subject to precession. Due to the effect 
of precession, the vernal equinox, from which the 
division of the twelve signs begins, moves westward 
on the ecliptic at a rate of 50,37" per year (modern 
value). Therefore, the constellations fall back 
eastward from the vernal equinox about one sign in 
2,140 years. Thus the vernal equinox (i.e. the begin- 
ning of the sign of Aries), which in antiquity was 
situated between the constellations of Pisces and 
Aries, in our days falls between Aquarius and Pisces; 
that means that in our days the zodiacal constellations 

ire eastward roughly by one sign from the signs carry- 
ng their names, as, e.g., the constellation of Aries 
■vhich nowadays falls into the sign of Pisces. 

In Arabic, the zodiacal constellations and the signs 
are both called by the same word burudi (sing, burdi). 
rhis term was already known to the Arabs before 

i the Kur 5 ; 

, the 

s thre 

times: XV, 16; XXV, 61; and LXXXV, title and v. 
1. As a common noun, burdi [q.v.] means "a fortress, 
or a tower" and is assumed to derive from Greek 
Jiupfo? (of the same meaning). A reminiscence of this 
is found in some Arabic philologists who explain the 
word (in astronomical context) in that sense, cf. 
Kutrub (d. after 210/825-6): wa 'l-burdi ayd°» al-kasr 
al-muslalil (a "lengthy fortress", perhaps with the 
intended meaning, lengthy in vertical direction, i.e. a 
tower; see his K. al-Azmina, 133,3); Ibn Kutayba (d. 
276/889): al-burudi al-hu?un wa 'l-kusur (K. al-Anwa\ 
120,5); c Abd Allah b. c Asim (d. 403/1013): wa-asl al- 
burudi al-husUn (K. al-Anwd>, fol. 3a,-2). There are 
only a few instances in Greek where the burudi are 
really called 7cup-fOi, mostly in late mss. of the 14th and 
15th centuries (cf. the places quoted in O. 
Neugebauer, Ethiopic astronomy and computus, Vienna 
1979, 232 n. 4; D. Pingree (ed.), The astronomical works 
of Gregory Chioniades, i, Amsterdam 1985, 26, 27 and 
399); the current term in classical Greek texts is to 
C<i8tov, apart from some other less frequent forms (cf. 
RE, art. Zodiakos, ii; v, 6; Scherer, 42-4). The exact 
reason and point of the borrowing of burdi, in the 
astronomical sense, from Greek remain, therefore, 
uncertain. An interesting suggestion was made by F. 
Hommel (in ZDMG, xlv [1891], 607 n. 2), that bur- 
di = jiup-fos, in the astronomical-astrological sense, 
might be related to Babylonian parakku ( = Sumerian 
barag), "a chapel, sanctuary", citing a passage "The 
Gods in the sky have settled down in their stations 
(manzalti-shunu) [cf. the Arabic manazil !], their parakki 
... are visible ," where the reference is obviously to the 
zodiacal constellations. Another, obviously spe- 
culative explanation of the term al-burudi is given 
by al-Tlfashl (d. 651/1263; Surur, 199, 14 = Ibn Man- 
zur [d. 711/1311], Nithar, 174,3/2): the term burdi in 
the language of the Arabs is derived from al-burudi, 
infinitive of the verb baradia, meaning "to become 
visible, apparent" , like the verb zahara). (The word al- 
burudi is also used once in the more common sense of 
"tower" in Kur'an, IV, 78: ft buruA}* mushayyada.) 

The old Arabs, before their acquaintance with 
Greek astronomy, did not know the zodiac as a com- 
plete system. But, as it seems, some of the twelve 
zodiacal constellations had become known to them, 
most probably, through channels as yet unknown, 
from Mesopotamia. These few constellation names 
are occasionally used in poetry, and— what is of great 

manazil] have been_ related to them (cf. the table 
given by al-BIrunl, Athdr, 349 f. = tr. 350. The table 
is not correct in some of the details). Later, when 
Greek astronomical and astrological texts were 
translated into Arabic, most of these constellations 
were assigned new names formed after their Greek 
models. Also, it became apparent that the 
astronomical location of several of the older Arabic 
constellations had shifted from those places in the sky 
which they occupied in Greek tradition. So it would 

in the transmission of the zodiacal 
unstellations: a northern branch reaching from 
Mesopotamia to the Greeks (and hence into modern 
ly), and a southern branch reaching into the 

of dev 


After the introduction of Greek astronomy, the 
Arabic-Islamic culture adopted and continuously 
applied the Greek distribution of constellations and 
the fixed stars, and it came to know and use the zodiac 
and the ecliptic as a system of astronomical and 
astrological reference (cf. the ed. of the star catalogue 
from Ptolemy's Almagest, in the two surviving Arabic 
versions of al-Hadjdjadj b. Yusuf b. Matar and of 
Ishak b. Hunayn, with amendments by Thabit b. 
Kurra, where the descriptions of the twelve zodiacal 
constellations and all their individual stars are given 
and which have served as the basic source for all the 
astronomers and astrologers of the Islamic period). 
Most of the Arabic philologists, in their kutub al-anwa* 

burudj.. But since all of them lived in the time after the 
introduction of Greek science, it came about that they 
usually give the complete list of twelve burudj. (which, 
as stated before, were not completely known to the old 
Arabs), thus mixing up foreign knowledge and 
indigenous Arabic traditions. 

Now follows a list of the twelve burudx: 

1. Aries, al-hamal (lit. "the lamb"). The name 
seems to be of indigenous Arabic tradition, since the 

nath, al-butayn and al-thurayyd [the Pleiades]) are 
usually identified as the horns, the belly and the fat 

proposed, because of these "horns", that the con- 
stellation should be rather called al-kabsh ("the ram"), 
a name which, subsequently, was occasionally used 
instead of al-hamal. Note that the location of this 
Arabic hamal extends into the Greek Taurus (the 
Pleiades !). In the translations from the Greek, the 
same name al-hamal was retained for Greek 6 Kpto?. 

2. Taurus, al-thawr. This name seems to be of scien- 
tific origin, translated from Greek 6 Tocupos, since no 
indigenous asterism (from among the lunar mansions) 

3. Gemini. In the indigenous Arabic tradition, the 
corresponding constellation is al-djawzd^ (of unknown 
meaning), frequently used in poetry and old texts. As 
a constellation, however, the old Arabic al-d)awza> was 
located in the stellar figure called by the Greeks (and 
so on further in modern astronomy) Orion. The lunar 

al-djawzd\ The scientific translations from the Greek 
added the new name al-law\mdn ("the twins"), after 
Greek ot AiSuu-Oi. (For Orion, the translators intro- 
duced al-djabbdr, "the Giant", perhaps adopting an 
older Syriac designation, gabbdrd.) Subsequently, very 
often (and especially so in the mediaeval Latin 
translations from the Arabic) there arose confusion, 
since the Arabic-Islamic astrologers and astronomers 
continued to use al-tfrawzd* in its two notions, as a 
name for Gemini (within the zodiacal constellations 
and signs) and for Orion, while otherwise the two 
could be distinguished as al-taw\mdn (Gemini) and al- 
djabbar (Orion). In all texts, therefore, special caution 
is required with regard to the name al-djawzd' in order 
to distinguish whether the zodiacal sign is intended or 
the southern constellation of Orion, outside the 


4. Cance 

Arabic al-saratan. Like no. 4, i 

itific c 



Kapxivo?. No indigenou 

5. Leo. al-asad. The name belongs to the indigenous 
Arabic tradition. Not less than eight (or even nine) 
lunar mansions (nos. 7 to 14, or 15) have been related 

which, therefore, in modern i 

, becan 


n figure 


in locati 

indigenous Arabic 
is again different from the 
lat it stretches from oc(3 
ixX Virginis. In the transla- 
tions from the Greek, the traditional name al-asad was 

6. Virgo. Indigenous Arabic al-sunbula ("the ear of 
corn"). This "ear" seems to be of Mesopotamian 
origin, since this section of the zodiac was already 
called by a name of that meaning in the Babylonian 
texts. The name has migrated to the Greeks, where 6 
2-raxus became the proper name of the star a Virginis 
while the constellation as such was developed into a 
maiden (rfapOtvo?) carrying the ear in her hand. With 
the Arabs, on the other hand, the knowledge of the 
stellar object named al-sunbula became obscured, and 
while, in consistency with the zodiacal series, it stands 
for Virgo, it was explained by some philologists as a 
name given by the common people (al-'-dmma) to the 
asterism otherwise called al-hulba ("the hair", sc. on 
the tip of the Lion's tail) and located in what in 
modern astronomy is called Coma Berenices, i.e. con- 
siderably far away north of the ecliptic (cf. Kunitzsch, 
Unlets., nos. 117a/b and 275). This, therefore, is 
another remarkable case of dislocation. Later, in 
translating the Almagest, the constellation was termed 
al-^adhrd^ (from i\ IlapStvo?), while the proper name of 
the star a Virginis (6 2-uax"?) was translated as al- 
sunbula (but here, different from the indigenous 
Arabic al-sunbula !). 

7. Libra, al-mizdn, translated from Greek 6 Zu r 6 ? . 
As constellation title, Ptolemy in the Almagest had 
retained an older designation, at XiflXai ("the claws", 
i.e. of Scorpius). Already in Babylonian texts this sec- 
tion of the zodiac was called zibdnitu ("balance") and 
was equally understood as the "horns" of Scorpius. 
On the other hand, the 16th lunar mansion of the 
Arabs, al-zubdnd, is understood as the claws of the 
scorpion. As it seems, there exists a relation between 
Babyl. zibdnitu and Ar. al-zubdnd (although the mean- 
ing, for the Arabs, has become obscured and they now 
understood what formerly meant "balance" as the 
"claws" of Scorpius). In translating Ptolemy's Xr)Xai, 
both Arabic translators supplied the indigenous 
Arabic name al-zubdnd, whereas the Zvyoq used else- 
where in the Almagest, and also in the latitude column 
in the star catalogue, was rendered into al-mizdn. 

8. Scorpius. Here we have a case among the 
(zodiacal) constellations where a constellation is 

location, continuously from the Babylonians both to 
the Greeks (and hence into modern astronomy) and to 

pre-scientific times, and four lunar mansions (nos. 16 
to 19; by one author also no. 15, as a fifth) have been 
related to Scorpius. It should be kept in mind that 
originally Libra, before made into an independent 
constellation of its own, was included, as the "claws", 
into the constellation of a major Scorpius. The 
translators from the Greek afterwards retained the 
ib for 6 Sxopnio?. 

9. Sac 

old i 

("the bow"). In indigenous Arabic stellar lore there 
existed an asterism called al-kaws, consisting of the six 
stars | 2 ,o,5t,8,p,u Sagittarii (otherwise also called al- 
kildda, "the necklace", or al-udhiyy, "the ostrich 
nest", cf. Kunitzsch, Unters. nos. 224, 229 and 307) 
which might be a remnant of the fuller constellation of 
the Archer. According to al-$ufT, Abu Hanifa al- 
DTnawari (d. ca. 282/895) assumed that the zodiacal 


constellation received its (old Arabic) name al-kaws 
from this asterism. The translators later introduced al- 
rami ("the archer"), from Greek 6 Tolj6Tr|<;. 
10. Capricornus. Arabic al-djady (lit. "the kid"). 
The Arabic philologists occasionally report that there 
are two kids in the sky (al-djadydn), one of which is in 
the zodiac, while the other one rotates (about the 
North Pole) together with (the asterism) banal na c sh, 
i.e. the seven stars of "Charles' Wain". (This second 
one is the star a Ursae Minoris, which in the time of 
the early Arabs was not yet the "Pole Star"; in con- 
trast to the djady in the zodiac, this second one is often 
called al-djudayy, in the diminutive.) It is, however, 
not clear whether al-djady (in the zodiac) is really an 
old Arabic name. At least, no other asterisms and no 
lunar mansions have ever been related to it. The 
translators of the Almagest retained the name al-djady; 
only Ishak added a tentative paraphrase of the Greek 
Atfoxeptoi;, as dhu karnay al-'-anz ("the one having a 
goat's horns"). (His transliteration of the Greek 
name, aghukaris, corrupted to al-kawkdris, was re- 
transliterated in the mediaeval West into Latin as 

alcaucarus and i: 

ioned i 

books among the names of Capricornus as a pseudo- 
Arabic name, even degenerated into Alcantaras.) 

was al-dalw ("the water bucket"), obtaining — in the 
series of the zodiacal constellations — the place of 
Aquarius, but as an asterism located in what Ptolemy 
(and hence modern astronomy) call Pegasus, more 
exactly in the big Pegasus-square formed by the four 
stars a Andromedae and a$y Pegasi. The western two 
of these four stars form the 26th lunar mansion, al- 
jargh al-mukaddam (or al-awwal), and the eastern two 
the 27th lunar mansion, al-fargh al-mu'akhkhar (or al- 
thdni); the two fargh ("outlets") are related to the 
zodiacal "bucket" (dalw). As it seems, of the former 
Babylonian figure of a man holding a vessel, the 
Arabs have only retained the vessel (cf. above, Virgo). 
But note again the displacement of the figure outside 
the zodiac, in the Arabic tradition! The Greeks, on 
the other hand, had retained the human figure 
together with the vessel (xaXni;, not mentioned in the 
star catalogue of the Almagest). As with Capricornus, 
the Arabic translators of the Almagest also here 
retained the older Arabic name, al-dalw. Only Ishak 
b. Hunayn added a tentative paraphrase of the Greek 
'fSpoxoo? ("Water pourer"), as sdkib al-md^ ("the 
pourer of the water"). (His transliteration of the 
Greek name, idhrukh'us, misspelled as 'dhrwdhrws, 
etc., was re-transliterated by the mediaeval Latin 
translator asydrudurus, thus suggesting, in the first two 
syllables, a reminiscence of the Greek uSpo-.) Other 
recent Arabic forms, all subsequent to the Greek 
name, were al-sdkt, al-ddli, and even hamil al-dalw 
("the carrier of the bucket", developed on the basis of 
the old Arabic name and the Greek conception of a 
man carrying a vessel). 

12. Pisces . The indigenous Arabic tradition has only 
one fish, al-hut, located north of the ecliptic in 
Andromeda. The 28th lunar mansion, batn al-hut (p 
Andromedae), is regarded the belly of that Fish. This 
is another case of reminiscence of a zodiacal constella- 
tion with the old Arabs, and also another case of 
displacement of the respective figure to a place outside 
the zodiac. The translators of the Almagest retained the 
older name al-hut; only Ishak b. Hunayn translated 
the Greek 'I^ue; as al-samakatdn ("the two fishes"). 
(His transliteration of the Greek name, ikthuwds, 
misspelled as ^kyw^n, was re- transliterated into echiguen 
in mediaeval Europe and became one of the many 
rarer names of Pisces in modern astronomical works.) 
For some of the burudj, the authors of the anwd^ 

books mention certain alternative names which, how- 
ever, might be mostly purely poetical or else 
speculative philological variants of the reported basic 
names, as al-layth for al-asad (no. 5); al-tays ("the he- 
goat") for al-djady (no. 10); and al-samaka for al-hut 
(no. 12). Of a more peculiar character is al-sira ("the 
figure"; later commonly used for "constellation") for 
al- c akrab (no. 8). al-risjw' for al-hut (no. 12) seems 
nfusion with one of the names of the 

P (no. 

28th lunar mansion. A special 

3) for which Ibn Slda (d. 458/1066; K. al-Mukhassas, 
ix, 12, 16— on the authority of Abu Hanifa al- 
Dinawari) cites the alternative name al-sura ("the 
figure"), while c Abd Allah b. c Asim (K. al-Anwd\ fol. 
3, 5) reports that the Arabs called al-taw'amdn [sic, as 

djabbdr. Both these statements are utterly mutilated; 
the fuller and correct wording is found in al-TIfashr 
(Surur, 198, last two lines = Ibn Manzur, Nithdr, 174, 
6-7): ... al-djawzd' wa-tusammiha 'l-munadidiimun al- 
low 'amayn Ja-ammd 'l-sura Ja-yusammunahd al-djabbar wa 

and the astronomers of Greek-based scientific profes- 
sion call her 'the Twins'; however, the figure [i.e. the 
asterism, or constellation figure, obtained by al- 
djawzd^ in the sky, i.e. Orion] they call al-djabbar 
[ = Orion] and al-bashar ['the human figure'— not 

found among the Arabs"). 

In Persian, the common names of the zodiacal con- 
stellations are: 1 - barra ("lamb"); 2 - gdw; 3 - du 
paykar; 4 - kharcang; 5 - shir; 6 - khusha ("ear of 
corn"); 7 - tardzu; 8 - kazhdum; 9 - kamdn ("bow"); 
10 - buzghdla ("kid"); 11 - dul ("bucket"); and 12 - 
mahi ("fish", sing.). 

It may be added that, through Latin translations of 
Arabic works on astronomy and astrology, the Arabic 
names of the twelve zodiacal constellations and signs 
also became known in mediaeval Europe. But these 
names did not gain the same popularity as the 
individual star names and never came into actual use 
in Europe. 

Mintaka in Astrology. The zodiacal figures no. 
1, al-Hamal, no. 4, al-Saratdn, no. 7, al-Mizdn and no. 
10, al- Dja dy are known together as burudj munkaliba, 
Greek £a>8t<x zpomxi; no. 2, al-Thawr, no. 5, al-Asad, 
no. 8, al-'-Akrab and no. 11, al-Dalw under burudi 
thabita, &8ioc aztpti; no. 3, al-Djawzd^, no. 6, al- 
^Adhrd^, no. 9, al- Rami and no. 12, al-Samakatan under 
burudi dhawdt al-djasadayn, £a>8i<x Siaaipix (i.e. "Signa 
bicorpora", "Double figures": Twins, Virgin and 
Ear of corn, Archer with Horse's body and the two 

Muthallathat. By al-muthallathdt (sing, al-mulhallalha) 
are meant in Arab astrology the Greek iptfaiva, Lat. 
trigona or triquetra, which in the Middle Ages were 
usually translated by triplicates. 

The twelve signs of the zodiac are here arranged in 
threes at the angles of four intersecting equilateral 
triangles of which one is allotted to each of the four 
elements. Each triangle is given two of the seven 
planets as its rulers (rabb, pi. arbdb, Greek oixoStunovxt 
or zpiyciivovpiizopti;), one for the day and another for 
the night; a third is associated with the two others as 

The ai 


is follows 

Muthallatha - Element: Fire. 
Zodiacal sign: al-Hamal, al-Asad and al- Rami (nos. 1, 

5 and 9). 
Ruler: by day al-Shams (Sun), by night al-Mushtari 

Companion: Zuhal (Saturn). 

2. Muthallatha - Element: Earth. 


Zodiacal sign: al-Thawr, al-^Adhra^ and al-Qiady (no. 2, 

6 and 10). 
Ruler: by day al-Zuhara (Venus), by night al-Kamar 

Companion: al-Mirrikh (Mars). 

3. Mulhallatha - Element: Air. 
Zodiacal sign: al-DiawzP, al-Mizdn and al-Dalw (nos. 

3, 7 and 11). 
Ruler: by day Zuhal (Saturn), by night 'Utdrid 



Companion: al-Mushtari (Jupiter). 

4. Mulhallatha - Element: Water. 
Zodiacal sign: al-Saratan, al-'-Akrab and al-Samakatdn 

(nos. 4, 8 and 12). 
Ruler: by day al-Zuhara (Venus), by night al-Mirrikh 

Companion: al-Kamar (Moon). 

The distribution of the Muthallathat has been settled 
since the time of Ptolemy (tetp<Sj3i/Mo?). 

Wudjuh or Suwar. By dividing each burdj into three 
we get 36 decans each of 10°, which in Arabic are 
called wudj_uh (sing, wadjh), suwar (sing, sura) or 
daridjan (from the Indian drekkdna, a loanword from 
the Greek) or dahaig (Pers.), in Greek Stxavoi or 
izp6<j(x)iza , in mediaeval Latin fades, more rarely decani. 
The astrological significance is the same as with the 
Greeks, who in their turn go back to Egyptian models. 
The decans are not mentioned in Ptolemy. Al-Suwar 

Teukros, the constellations which rise at the same 
time as the separate decans according to his list. Abu 
Ma c shar and other Arab authors took over the list of 
the paranatellonta from Teukros unaltered, but not the 
astrological interpretations associated with them. 

Buyut. The Greek oi'xoi or xorzoi, Lat. domicilia or 
(mediaeval) domus, are called in Arabic buyut (sing. 
bayt). The sun and moon are each ruler (sahib, rabb, 
Greek olxo8t<m6-n)s [cf. above muthallathat]) over one 
sign of the zodiac; each of the other five planets rules 
over two signs at the same time, according to the 
following scheme, also already laid down in the 





day or in its night-house at night, it is credited with 
particularly powerful astrological influence. 

Sharaf and Hubut. By sharaf (pi. ashrdf) we under- 
stand the tyuynx of the Greeks, sublimitas of Pliny, 
altitudo of Firmicus Maternus, exaltatio in mediaeval 
Latin; hubut is the Greek Tamivcooit; , xomtivcoixa . more 

A planet attains its maximum astrological influence 
in its sharaf; its influence is least in the hubut, i.e. the 
point in the heavens diametrically opposite the sharaj 
on the circle of the ecliptic. 


Aries 19° Libra 19° 

Taurus 3° Scorpius 3° 

Libra 21° (20°) Aries 21° 

Cancer 15° Capricornus 

Capricornus 28° Cancer 28° 

s 27° 

o 27° 

in the 1 

,s giving 2< 

;s back to 

The only inaccu: 
ilready fixed in anci. 
21° to Libra for Sati 
a very old error; it is also found in Pliny, Firmicus and 
the Hindu astronomer Varaha-Mihira. 

AI-BaI c amT assumed that at the time of the creation 
of the world the planets were in their ashrdf 

Various Arab writers since Abu Ma'shar also 
ascribe exaltations and dejections to the nodes of the 


- 'ukdatdr 


ascending node (raY) a; 

but, Sagittarius 3°; vice i 

(dhanab) as sharaf SagMw 

Hudid. Each of the five planets (excluding the sun 
and moon) possesses in each of the 12 burudf a field of 
influence covering several degrees (Arab, hadd, pi. 
hudud, Greek opiov, Lat. fines, med. Latin terminus) 

net itself and can repre 
oscopes. On the distributi 
e within the zodiacal c 

widely ; 

Duld I 

of these fields of infiu- 
s differed 

added one more to the Egyptian and 
Chaldaean divisions already in existence. (The vari- 
ous systems are fully expounded in the xexpa^Xoi;, i. 
20, fol. 43: Boll has studied this question very fully in 
Neues zur babylonischen Planetenordnung, in ZA, xxxviii 
[1913], 340 ff.) The Arab astrologers used almost 
exclusively the Egyptian system, which makes the dif- 
ferent fields of very unequal sizes. (For the classical 
gical doctrines, cf. Bouche-Leclerq.) 



fundamental basis for all 
calculations. It is divided into 360° degrees (djuz\ pi. 
adjzd^ or daradja, coll. daradj_, pi. daradjat), each degree 
into 60 minutes (dakika, pi. dakdHk), each minute into 
60 seconds (thdniya, pi. thawdni), each second into 60 
thirds (thdlitha, pi. thawdlith), and so on. 

The points of intersection of the ecliptic with the 
equator (dd^iral or falak mu'addil al-nahdr) define the 
two equinoxes (al-iHiddlan), the points of the greatest 
northerly and southerly declination the two solstices 
(al-tnkildbSn). The position of a fixed star or planet 
with respect to the mintaka is defined by giving its 
longitude (tul, pi. akwdl, or in al-Battani al-djuz^ alladht 
fihi al-kawkab) and latitude ( c ard, pi. c urud). The 
longitudes are numbered from the vernal point (al- 
nukta al-rabfiyya) . The axis erected perpendicular to 
the plane of the ecliptic meets the sphere of the fixed 
stars in the two poles of the ecliptic (kutbd dd^irat [or 
falak] al-burudf). 

On Arab star-maps and star-globes, we frequently 
find a mixed ecliptical and equatorial system of coor- 
dinates used (cf. the remarks above on the fresco on 
the dome at Kusayr c Amra), which consists of eclip- 
tical circles at longitude through the poles of the eclip- 
tic and equatorial parallel circles. 

Precession (in al-Battani, harakat al-kawakib al- 
Ihdbita, in later authors more precisely mubddaral nuktat 
al-i c tiddl). Among the Arab astronomers, supporters 
were found for the theory of Ptolemy, who explained 
the precession as a continual revolution of the whole 
leavens around the pole of the ecliptic with a period 
>f 36,000 years, as well as for that handed down by 
Theon of Alexandria (Thawun al-Iskandaram) from 
jlder sources, according to which the process of the 

iisted c 


irgo 1 

of the nodes; the 

ion). The greatest 
this theory is 

the si 

" (th 


years so that the whole phenomenon repeats itself 
after 2,560 years. The latter theory found particular 
approval in India and was further developed there. 
Thabit b. Kurra gave an explanation for it which at 
the same time took into account the (more suspected 
than observed) diminution in the obliquity of the 
ecliptic and calculated the length of the period at 
417 J4 years. (Recently, J. Ragep has shown that 
Thabit cannot really have been involved in the 
transmission of the theory of trepidation.) Al-Battani 
attacked and refuted this oscillation hypothesis of 
Theon and of the Ashab al-tilsamdt (omoTeXeo(iaTivoi); 
on a basis of new and comparative observations he 
found that the precession amounted to 1 ° in 66 years, 
which corresponds to a period of 23,760 years, which 
is roughly 10% too small. A more accurate rate of 1° 
in 70 years is given by several other Arabic-Islamic 
astronomers (cf. the survey in Nallino, al-Battdm, Opus 

Obliquity (Maylfalak al-burudi, very frequently al- 
mayl kulluhu or al-kulli in contrast to al-mayl al-djuzH, 
"declination of the separate points in the minfaka" , cf. 
al-AghzawT, 21). The problem of estimating the obli- 
quity of the ecliptic was during the classical period a 
centre of interest for the Muslim astronomers. As a 
first attempt at an exact estimate in the Muslim 
period, Ibn Yunus (ch. ix, p. 222, of the Leiden 
Codex or of the Paris Codex, no. 2475) mentions an 
observation of the period between 778 and 786 which 
gave the value t = 23°31'. We have an unusually 
large number of observations of later dates. (For 

details, see Nallino's notes on al-Battani's 
astronomicum, i, 157 ff.). 

Al-Battani in his observati 
ruler (triquetrum, c iddda tawi 
divided wall quadrant (libna). He ascertained with 
these instruments in al-Rakka the smallest zenith 
distance of the sun at 12 ° 26', the greatest at 59 "36'; 
this gavee- 47 ^ 10 ' =23-35'. This value is at the 
basis of all al-Battani's calculations and tables and has 
been adopted by many other Arab astronomers. 

The question whether the amount of obliquity 
remains constant at all times or is subject to a secular 
diminution was answered in different ways by dif- 
ferent students. As a matter of fact, the degree of 
accuracy of observation was not sufficient to settle this 
point and the old Hindu value of £ = 24°, on which 
these investigations were often based, was based not 
on observations but only on a statement of Euclid's 
according to which astrologers of his time used to 
estimate the obliquity as a fifteenth part of the cir- 
cumference of the circle. 

The following table gives a survey of the Arab 
values for the obliquity of the ecliptic (cf. Nallino, al- 
Battdni, Opus astronomicum, loc. cit.). The column 
"average obliquity" gives by Bessel's formula: 

t = 23°28' 18".0 - 0".48 368.t - 0".000 002 722 95. 
t 2 (t = years after 1750) the true values calculated for 
the periods in question. The years given in brackets 
are only approximate, i.e. not given by the authors 

Comparative table of the Arab values for the Obliquity of the Ecliptic 



(230 B.C 



(130 B.C 



(140 A.D 

Tabulae probatae 

(al-Zidi al-mumtahan) 



Other observers under 




Banu Musa 






BanQ Amdjur 



c Abd al-Rahman al-Sufl 

Baghdad ? 


Abu '1-Wafa 5 



Widjan b. Rustam al-Ku 

ii Baghdad 


Ibn Yunus 






Alphonsine Tables 



Ibn al-Shatir 



Ulugh Beg 



35 '40" 

- 1'48 

35 '26" 

- 0'26 


- 0'17 



34 '35" 

- 0'50 

34 '25" 

+ 0'35 

34 '25" 


34' 19" 

+ 0'33 

34' 10" 

+ 0'50 

32 '19" 

+ O'lO 

31 '25" 

- 0'25 

30 '49" 

- 0'32 

Bibliography: 1. Arabic sources: c Abd Allah 
b. c Asim, Kitab al-Anwa?, ms. Istanbul, Ahmed III, 
3508; al-Battanl, Opus astronomicum, ed. and tr. 
C.A. Nallino, i-iii, Milan 1899-1907; al-BIrunl, al- 
Athar al bakiya, ed. E. Sachau, Leipzig 1878; tr. 
idem, The chronology of ancient nations, London 1879 
(repr. Frankfurt 1969); al-BIrunl, al-Kdnun al- 
Mas^udi, i-iii, Hyderabad 1954-6; Ibn Kutayba, 
Kitab al-Anwd>, Hyderabad 1375/1956; Ibn Man- 
zur, Kitab Nithar al-azhdrfi 'l-layl wa 'l-nahar, Con- 
stantinople 1298; Ibn Slda, Kitab al-Mukhassas, ix, 
Cairo: al-Amfriyya 1319; Muhammad b. Ahmad 
al-Kh.«arazmI, Mafatih al-'-ulum, ed. G. van Vloten, 
Leiden 1895; Kutrub, K. al-Azmina, ed. H.S. al- 
Damin, in al-Mawrid, xiii (1984), 109-72; Ptolemy, 
Almagest: Claudius Ptolemaus, Der Sternkatalog des 

Almagest. Die mittelalterlich-arabische Tradition, i. Die 
arabischen Ubersetzungen, ed. and tr. P. Kunitzsch, 
Wiesbaden 1986 (cf. also the historical and 
philological study, P. Kunitzsch, Der Almagest. Die 
Syntaxis Mathematica des Claudius Ptolemaus in arabisch- 
lateinischer Uberlieferung, Wiesbaden 1984, for the 
zodiacal constellations see 189-94); al-Sufi, Kitab 
Suwar al-kawdkib, Hyderabad 1373/1954; Thabit b. 
Kurra, on the trepidation, lost in Arabic, preserved 
in mediaeval Latin tr. as De motu octavae sphaerae, 
several modern editions, Eng. tr. with comm. by O. 
Neugebauer, in Proc. Amer. Philos. Soc. , cvi/3 
(1962), 264 ff, esp. 290-9; Ahmad b. Yusuf al- 
Tlfashl, Surur al-nafs bi-maddrik ai-hawdss al-khams (in 
the first, astronomical part identical to its edited 
version by Ibn Manzur, Nithar, see above), ed. I. 


c Abbas, Beirut, 1400/1980. 2. Modern studies: 
A. Beer, The astronomical significance of the zodiac of 
Qusayr 'Amra, in K.A.C. Creswell, Early Muslim 
architecture, i, Oxford 1932, 296-303; idem, 
Astronomical dating of works of art, in Vistas in 
Astronomy, ix (1967), 177-87 (with an addition by 
W. Hartner, ibid, 225); A. Bouche-Leclerq, 
L'astrologiegrecque, Paris 1899 (repr. Brussels 1963); 
A. Deimel S.J., Sumerisches Lexikon, iv. Teil, Band 
2; P. GSssmann O.E.S.A., Planetarium babylonicum, 
Rome 1950; B.R. Goldstein, On the theory of trepida- 
tion, in Centaurus, x (1964-5), 232-47; P. Kunitzsch, 
Untersuchungen zur Sternnomenklatur der Araber, 
Wiesbaden 1961; A. Le Boeuffle, Les noms latins 
d'astres et de constellations, Paris 1977; (Ptolemy— see 
above, section 1); J. Ragep, Cosmography in the 
"Tadhkira" of Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Ph.D. thesis, 
Harvard Univ. 1982; RE = Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, 
Real-Encyclopadie der classtschen Altertumswissenschaft, 
art. Zodiakos, by H.G. Gundel and R. Boker, in vol. 
x A, Munich 1974; F. Saxl, The zodiac of Qusayr 
, in Creswell, op. at, i, 289-95; A. Scherer, 


Heidelberg 1953; B.L. van der Waerden, The history 
of the zodiac, in Archiv fur Onentforschung, xvi (1954), 
217-30; idem, Erwachende Wissenschaft , ii. Die 
Anfange der Astronomic, Basel-Stuttgart 1968. 

(W. Hartner-[P. Kunitzsch]) 
MINUCIHRI [_see_MAN0ciHRl]. 
MINUF, MINUFI [see manuf, manufT]. 
MINURKA, Minorca, name of the easternmost 
of the Balearic islands; it lies about 40 km east- 
north-east of Majorca [see mayurka]. Its area of 669 
km 2 is dwarfed by that of the centrally located 
Majorca (3,640 km 2 ), but it slightly surpasses that of 
Ibiza (572 km 2 [see yabisa]). Minorca's elongated 

at its western and south-eastern extremities! 
Ciudadela and Mahon, both of Carthaginian date. 

For the greater part of the four centuries or more of 
Islamic rule on the islands, Minorca was politically 
and culturally eclipsed by Majorca. Like the other 
islands, it benefited from some of the 



characteristic of Muslim Spain. It also participated in 
Majorca's corsair activities and shared its fate when in 
1116 a combined Pisan-Catalan punitive expedition 
attacked the two islands and freed a great number of 

most position may have contributed to growing con- 
tacts with Christian maritime powers such as Genoa 
and Pisa, as reflected in the commercial treaties of 
1177, 1181, 1184 and 1188. The island's special place 
in Islamic history, however, is due to the virtual 
independence its rulers enjoyed under the suzerainty 
of the kings of Catalonia- Aragon between 1231 and 
1287. This happened when James I annexed the rest 
of the archipelago, but concluded two consecutive 
treaties with Abu c Uthman b. Sa c fd b. al-Hakam by 
which the latter conserved autonomy in return for the 
presentation of an annual djizya and of a few other 
symbols of vassalage. Sa c id b. al-Hakam, given in the 
sources such simple titles as al-Ra'is "Chief or al- 
Mushrif, a title that expressed one of his earlier func- 
tions as tax collector and that became his Spanish 
epithet as Almojarife, proved to be an able ruler 
(although often a harsh one, on religious grounds) and 
a cultivated man. Minorca attained under his half-a- 
century long rule (1231-82) the reputation of a prospe- 
rous island with a strong fleet, but it became especially 
renowned as a place where refined literary culture 
flourished and Islamic religious sciences were 


point of transit 
for Muslims fleeing the Reconquista in Spain. Sa c id 
b. al-Hakam, an accomplished poet himself, main- 
tained a lively correspondence with men of letters and 
science in other Islamic centres, but above all with 
those of the Western Mediterranean: Tunis, Bougie, 
Murcia and Granada. 

Islamic Minorca's autonomy collapsed soon after 
Sa c Id b. al-Hakam's death. From among the reasons 
proposed for this collapse, one would have been the 
weak personality of the ruler, al-Hakam b. Sa'ld, who 

d his father's statesmanship; a 


been the ii 
III of Catalc 


nia-Aragon, by the warnir 
5sal had sent to Collo wh< 
Catalan fleet called at Mahon on 
North African port. The basic 
should be sought in the historical 
stage of the Reconquista: the Chi 
freed of the usual commitm 

-ay tc 

ould have 
i, Alfonso 
which the 

i in the 


i pemn: 

i, put a 

left the Catalan port of Salo and, 
after spending Christmas of 1286 in Majorca, 
anchored near Mahon in January 1287. Alfonso 
himself, displaying a Crusader's paraphernalia and 
bravura, took part in the ensuing battles. The 
Muslims put up a brave resistance but eventually had 
to surrender. The outcome presaged the events of 
1492 for Granada. The ruler, his family and retinue 
were allowed to leave for Muslim-held territory; they 
embarked in a Genoese ship that took them to 
Almeria. Eventually they moved to Ceuta, where al- 
Hakam buried the remains of his father, and whence 
he and his family sailed to Tunis. They all perished in 
a storm off the coast of Algiers. As for the rest of 
Minorcan Muslims, about one-third chose to 



the Balearics, was both a participant and a victim in 
the see-saw contest of Christian and Muslim corsairs. 
Thus Pin Re>Ts (fl. ca. 1 526) mentions frequent visits 
by Arab and Turkish (corsair) boats, and the presence 
of a great number of Arab and Turkish prisoners put 
to work on the salines of Ibiza. In 1535 Barbarossa 
[see khayr al-din] briefly seized Mahon, and 
Ciudadela was attacked during the 1558 expedition of 
the Ottoman fleet under Piyale Pasha in the Western 


iliography: Maria Luisa 

, Mao 



Codera, r 

ts bibl., useful for Arabic 
sneal, La peninsule iberique t 
r [de Himyari], Leiden IS 
- \. Campaner 

is Is/a 

, Historia 
n Sl-Sali 

Boletin Real Academia Historica, Madrid, xvi (1890), 

492-97; D. Urvoy, La vie intellectuelle et spirituelle dans 

les Baleares Musulmanes, in al-Andalus, xxxvii (1972), 

87-132, esp. 123-6; E. Molina Lopez, El gobierno 

independiente de Monona y sus relaciones con al-Andalus e 

Ifriqiyya: el "Kitdb Lubab al-Albdb", una nueva fuente 

para la historia del Occidente Musulman, in Revista de 

Menorca (1982), 5-88; Pin Re 5 fs, Kitab-i Bahnyye, 

Ankara 1935, 530-3 (see also 534-40 for Majorca); 

TOEM, sene 3, §uz~> 10, say'i 15, p. 966 (Piyale 

Pasha's campaign). (S. Soucek) 

MIR, a Persian title abbreviated from the Arab 

amir and approximating in meaning both to it and to 

the title mirza [q.v.]. (For the dropping of the initial 

alif cf. Bu Sahl for Abu Sahl, etc.). Like amir the title 

is applied to princes (Manucihri, ed. A. de Biberstein- 

MIR - 


Kazimirsky, Menoutchehri, poete person du onzi'eme siecle de 
notre ere, Paris 1886, 96, speaks of Sultan Mas c ud of 
Ghazna. as "Mir"), but it is also borne by poets and 
other men of letters (e.g. Mir C A1I Shir, Mir Kh w and, 
Mir Muhsin; cf. the following arts.). In India and 
Pakistan, Sayyids sometimes call themselves by the 
title. As a common noun, it is used as an equivalent 
of sahib, e.g. mir pandj., mir akhur. 

It occurs also in official titles in both the Dihll 
Sultanate and in Mughal administration: mir atish 

:f of a 
"chief of r 

itroller of 


ng operations"; miri sdmdn "chief of the com- 
•iat"; etc. Mir-ifarsh is the term usually applied 
rie weights— often of marble carved and inlaid 
emi-precious stones — used to hold down a pall 

a grave 

it") in the 

In Turkish there was derived from it 
adjective miri [q.v.] ("belonging to the g 

colloquial Arabic of c Irak. 

(R. Lew [-J. Burton-Page]) 
MIR-AKHUR (p.) In the Ottoman empire, the 
mir-dkhdr or Master of the Stables was the official 
given charge of all aspects relating to the supply and 
maintenance of the Ottoman ' ' 


. The 

:-ranging s 

mperial stables were divided between two 
chief officials, the kuciik mir-dkhur or Master of the 
Lesser Stable, and the biiyuk mir-dkhur or Master of the 
Great Stable, both of whom were high officers in the 
Palace Outer Service with the rank of Aghas of the 
Stirrup (rikdb aghalafi) (Gibb and Bowen, i, 82-3, 355). 
While all matters relating to the administration of the 
stables were referred to the Grand Master as senior 
officer, it seems that the kiiciik mir-dkhur was primarily 
charged with the care and maintenance of the sultan's 
privy stable or khdss dkhur located in the second court 
of the Topkapi Palace opposite the kitchens. On the 
ground level of the privy stable a small number of 
exceptional show horses belonging to the sultan per- 
sonally (25-30, according to Baudier, 21-2; 40-50 
according to Blaise de Vigenere, 346) were kept, while 
the lower story housed the valuable silver bridles and 
other equestrian paraphernalia which formed the con- 
tents of a separate treasury called the khdss dkhur 
khazinesi. The kiiciik mir-dkhur was also responsible for 
the upkeep of the sultans' carriages. The Great Stable 
(biiyuk akhur) consisted of seventeen separate buildings 
adjacent to the outer wall of the Palace along the Mar- 
mara Sea coast (Baudier, 22), where some one thou- 
sand horses were kept, principally for the use of 
members of the sultan's household on festive occa- 

is (aldy 

dyun), < 

the reception of a foreign ambassador. Horses from 
the imperial stables were also distributed to members 
of the sultan's household for use during military cam- 
paigns. Each spring the horses belonging to the 
imperial stables in Istanbul were taken to the 
meadows of Kaghid-Khane for pasturing, and the 
mir-dkhur himself resided there during the summer 
months (Ewliya Celebi, i, 480-2). 

The biiyuk mir-dkhur was also responsible for pack 
animals and camels belonging to the state for use 
during military campaigns, and had to supervise the 
stable- related services both within and without the 
Palace. The staff within the Palace included prin- 
cipally the saddlers' guild (sarrdajin-i khdssa), who 
numbered 230 men (in addition, 120 men were 
assigned as saddlers for the draught animals bdrgir sar- 
radjilar, Kanun-ndme, VeliyyOdin, no. 1970, f. 107a), 
the camel-drivers (shuturbandn) responsible for the care 
of the animals during campaign, and the grooms 

(saHsan) and others who cared for the animals in the 
stables. While some observers estimated the numbers 
of Palace stable employees as between 10,000 and 
12,000 (d'Aramon, 44; Blaise de Vigenere, 348), the 
following table based on official registers gives more 
precise information as to their actual numbers: 


No. of employees 

Yearly wages 




(Sources for table in order given: Barkan, in Iktisat 
Fakiiltesi Mecmuasi, xv [1953-4], 300; Barkan, in IFM, 
xix [1957-58], 305-6; c Ayn- c AlI, Risdle, Istanbul 
1280/1863-4, 99; Basbakanlik Arsivi, Maliyeden mudev- 
ver, no. 794.) 

Outside the Palace, the mir-dkhur employed 
Bulgarian Christians called voynuks numbering about 
900-1,000 (Blaise de Vigenere, 347), some of whom 
were given exemption from certain taxes in return for 
their services, and others of whom got timar benefices 
( C A1I Cawush, Kdnin-ndme, 155-6). Apart from the 
breeding and raising of horses on the stud farms (hard) 
and in the sultanic parks (khdssa koru), the voynuks also 
had to cut grass and hay in the sultan's meadows 
(khdssa cayu) for delivery to the mir-dkhdr. In these 
tasks the voynuks were assisted by the keepers of the 
brood mares (yund oghlan'i) and the keepers of the colts 
(laydji) who were expected to raise, feed, shoe, and 
equip two colts for each ciftlik [q. v. ] of land assigned 
to them (Basbakanlik Arsivi, Maliyeden miidevver, no. 

The voynuk organisation was designed primarily for 
the purpose of maintaining a good breeding stock for 
the imperial stables, but purchase and maintenance of 
the herd of pack animals including camels (deve), 
geldings (bdrgir) and mules (ester) and others, was also 
part of the purview of the mir-dkhur. Stables had to be 
built and forage provided over the winter months for 
all of the animals belonging to the state (miri daw ar). 
Sometimes special collections were taken up under the 
name of the campaign provisions tax (bedei-i niizul) (for 
an example, see Muhimme, vol. 87 [1046/1636-7], 18, 
an order providing that each train of five camels 
(katar) wintering in the environs of Zile should be sup- 
plied each day with one kite (25.656 kg) of barley and 
50 wukiyye (64.14 kg) of straw), but the animals within 
the imperial stables in Istanbul or Edirne were pro- 
vided for by a special fund allocated to the barley com- 
missioner (amin-i g^aw). The amount of cash allocated 
in the year 1070/1660 for the forage of those animals 
in the imperial stables alone was 11,816,379 akcas 
(Huseyn Hezarfen, Talkhis al-baydn, figures published 
by Barkan, in IFM, xvii [1955-6]; 344-5). Apart from 
the cash allocation, an additional 302,692 kite (7,766 
metric tons) of barley and 104,942.5 kantar (5,923 

344). For information on prices for both 
thoroughbreds and common work-hors( 



pies, see Barkan, in Belgeler, iii, 136, listing 
sixteen individual animals of varying prices valued at 
a total of 37,290 akcas, and ibid., 404, listing several 
prize horses, including one valued at 18,000 akcas). 
Most commonly the price for sound draught horses or 
pack animals was around 1,000-1,200 akcas (H. 
Inalcik, in V.J. Parry and M.E. Yapp (eds.), War, 
technology and Society, 198; C. White, Three years in Con- 
stantinople, iii, 286). 

Horse breeding was a matter of prime concern to 


the Ottomans. For some sultans, the collection of 
prize horses became almost an obsession, as was the 
case with Mehemmed IV [q.v.\ (reigned 1058- 
99/1648-87), who came to be known as Awdft 
Mehemmed or Mehemmed the huntsman. Edward 
Brown, an English traveller who visited Mehemmed's 
camp during an imperial residence at Larissa in the 
summer of 1669, remarked that having seen the 
stables of the great princes of Christendom in Paris, 
Naples, Dresden and Prague, he found that none of 
them could compare in their variety and brilliance to 
those of the sultan's court (Brown, Travels, 40). But 
apart from their value for sport, sound breeds were a 
military necessity. According to Marsigli (Stato 
militare, 41-2), the horses bred in Transylvania from 
Moldavian mares were prized for their stamina 
during long marches, and the Tatar horses, though 
somewhat smaller in stature, were equally 
indefatigable. Besides the Moldavian and Tatar 
horses, the sultan's stables were supplied with Tur- 
coman breeds. Horse breeding and horse trading were 
established economic activities in central Anatolia 
from ancient times (F. Taeschner, anadolu, at i, 
476). An Arab traveller of the 8th/14th century 
singled out the horses raised by the Turcoman tribes 
of Germiyan and Kastamonu for especial praise (al- 
c UmarI, cited by Sumer, Oguzlar, 408). During the 
Ottoman period, the province of Karaman was a 
particularly active centre for horse breeding The 
herds were raised under the care of a group of Tur 
comans known as the esb-keshan taHfesi. In exchange 
for exemption from other taxes, the esb-keshan 
Karaman were expected to provide a number of 
horses each year (for an example, see Basbakar 
Arsivi, Maliyeden mudevver, no. 7528, 116, which 
records a revenue of 458,980 akc'as deriving from the 
esb-keshan mukdta c asi for the year 1057/1649. At a rate 
of 300 akcas per head {Kanun-name, in TOEM, Suppl 
for 1329/1911, 63], this represents 1,530 horses) In 
addition, the stables of Bursa, Manisa and Edirne are 
mentioned as producing breeds of superior quality 
(Barozzi and Berchet, Relazioni, i/1, 100). The show 
horses and studs kept in the sultan's privy stable were 
mostly given to him as gifts from governors in the 
Arabian provinces or from state grandees. Camels 
came primarily from the Turcoman tribes, particu 
larly those in the sandjaks of Yeni-i! in the province of 
Rum-i Kadim (Sivas) and of Halab (Aleppo) in Syria 
(for an example, see Katib Celebi, Fadhlaka-yi 
tawarikh, Istanbul 1269-70/1853-4 ii, 115). 

Bibliography: 1. Ottoman Sources (i) Kanun- 
names. Mehmed c Arif (ed.), Kanun-name-i Sultan 
Mehemmed Khdn-i Thdni, in TOEM, Supplement for 
1330/1912, 12, n. 1; idem. Sultan Suleyman Kanun- 
ndmesi, in TOEM, Supplement 1329/1911, 62-3 
(selection on the at-ceken td\fesi); O.L. Barkan (ed.), 
Onbesinci ve onaltina asirlarda osmanh esaslan, 
Kanunlar, Istanbul 1943, 81-2, 99, 101; H. 
Hadzibegic (ed.), Rasprava Ali Cavusa iz Sofiye o 
timarskoj organizaciji u XVII stoljecu, in Glasnik 
Zemalkskog Muzeja u Sarajeuu, N.S., ii (1947), 155-6; 
c Abd al-Rahman Tawkfl (ed.), Othmdnti kdndn- 
ndmeleri (Ma c ruddt-i EbU Su^ud), in Mill! TetebbuHer 
MedjmuWi, i (1331/1913), 300, 308-9, 325; Kanun- 
names pertaining to the voynuks: Kanun-name of 
Nishandjalal-zade Mustafa, (Reisulkuttab no 
1004, ff. 84a-86b); Kanun-name dated 943/1537 call- 
ing for a new survey of the voynuks (Veliyiiddin no 
1970, f. 63a-b); Barkan (ed.), Kanunlar, 265-6, on 
the voynuks, see also G. Galabov, Quelques ana 

Annuaire de I'Universite de Sofia, Fakulte Histon 

1-69; idem, Drei t 


:ix/3(1943), 1 
i Ista 

.. Refik, 

! Unk 

viii/6 (1933), 62-96, 
viii/7 (1933), 1-44; kanun-ndmes pertaining to other 
aspects of stable organisation: Atif Efendi no. 1734, 
ff. 28b-29b; Veliyuddin no. 1970, f. 107a-b; see 
also the section "Kawanm-i Istabl-i c Amire", in 
Hiiseyn Hezarfen, Talkhis al-baydn fi kawanin-i dl-i 
<Othmdn, Paris B.N. ancien fonds 40, ff. 24b-25b 
(regulations on protocol plus a detailed account of 
the provenance of supplies to the imperial stables), 
(ii) Survey registers and budgets. Excerpts 
from state budgets dealing with the stables: Barkan, 
in IFM, xvii (1955-6), 344-5, Tarkhudju Ahmed 
Pasha's budget for the year 1062/1652 (reproduced 
in Ta\ikh-i Ghilmdm, in TOEM, Supplement for 
1340/1921-2, 30-4); Budgets of the istabl-i <dmire for 
the early llth/17th century: Basbakanlik Arsivi, 
Maliyeden mudevver no. 6147 (1028'a.H.); no. 6883 
(1030 A.H.); no. 4872 (1060 A.H.); no. 18172 
(1063 A.H.); Regulations for the si 

arks: Basl 

/ Kepeci 

7182 and Maliyeden mudevver nos. 710, 768, 6197; 
Bursa sanyya sicilleri, B. 60, 80b; Muhimme, vol. 87 
(1046 A.H.), 18; For horse prices: O.L. Barkan, 
Edirne kassamina ail tereke defterleri 1545-1659, in 
Belgeler, iii (1966), 1 '"" 

2 Wes 
Voyage d 


and N. Berchet, i 

. M. d'Aramon, j 
i, ed. J. Chesneau, 

le Senato dagli c 

1631, 21-2; O. 
vio Ottomano, ed. 
Le Relazioni degli 

», i/1, Venice 

Vigenere Bourbonnois, Illustrations de Blaise de 
Vigenere Bourbonnois sur I'histoire de Chalcondile Athe- 
men Paris 1620, 343-9; E. Brown, A brief account of 
some travels in divers parts of Europe...' 1 , London 1685, 
37 40 L. Marsigli, Stato militare dell'Impeno 

; Norn 


; JB 



Grand Seigneur, Paris 1680, 38-9, 97-8 

Valle, Reise-beschreibung in die orienk 

Geneva 1674, 36-7; C. White, Three 

Bowen, Islamic society and the West, i, London 1950, 
82-3, 355; Ewliya Celebi, Seyahat-name , i, Istanbul 
1314/1896-7, 480-2; J. von Hammer-Purgstall, Des 
Osmanischen Reichs Staatsverfassung und Staatsver- 
wallung, Vienna 1815, ii, 32-3; H. Inalcik, The socio- 
political effects of the diffusion of fire-arms in the Middle 
East, in VJ. Parry and M.E. Yapp (eds.), War, 
technology, and society in the Middle East, London 1975, 
195-217; B. Miller, Beyond the Sublime Porte, New 
Haven 1931, 200-2; M. d'Ohsson, tableau general de 
I'empire Ottoman, iii, Paris 1790; F. Sumer, Oguzlar 
(Turkmenler): tarihleri, boy leskilali, destanlan 2 , Ankara 
1972, 42-3, 407-8; I.H. Uzuncarsili, Osmanh 
devletinin saray leskilali, Ankara 1945, 488-510; idem, 
Osmanh devleti maliyesimn kurulusu ve Osmanh devleti ic 
hazmesi, in Belleten, lxii (1978), 67-93; for the 
organisation of the stables in other Islamic states, 
see C S. Colin and C.E. Bosworth in istabl. 

(R. Murphey) 


MIR C ALI SHIR NAWA'I, Nizam al-DIn 'All 
Shir, later called Mir C A1I Shir or C A1T Shir Beg, with 
the pen-name (takhallus) of Nawa'i (844-906/1441- 
1501), outstanding 9th/15th century Caghatay 
poet and important Central Asian cultural and 
political figure of the reign of the TTmurid sultan 
Husayn Baykara (873-911/1469-1506 [q.v.]). 

He was born in Harat (Herat) on 17 Ramadan 
844/9 February 1441, the scion of a cultured Turkic 
family of Uyghur bakhshis. hereditary chancellery 
scribes, who had long been in the service of the 
Tlmurid family. C A1I Shir's father, Ghiyath al-DIn 
KlckTna, also called KlckTna Bakhshl. was in the ser- 
vice of Abu Sa'Td, the grandson of MIranshah, as well 
as of Abu '1-Kasim Babur, Shahrukh's grandson, and 
at one time was the governor (hakim) of Sabzawar. 
'All Shir's maternal grandfather, Bu Sa c Id Cang, had 
been an amir of Mlrza Baykara's, the son of c Umar 
Shaykh and grandfather of Husayn Baykara. More- 
over, the family of 'AIT Shir was intimately connected 
to that of 'Umar Shaykh by ties of foster-brotherhood 
(kuk&ltashi) and C A1I Shir was himself the foster- 
brother of Husayn Baykara. Although he never bore 
the title kukaltash, it was always appended to the name 
of his brother, Darwlsh 'All. Because the families of 
'AH Shir and Husayn Baykara were closely related 
and the two were almost the same age (Baykara being 
only two years older), they were educated together as 
children. The fact that 'AIT Shir received a good 
education is emphasised by Dawlatshah and would 
have been in keeping with the value placed on a 
universal education by the highly literate Central 
Asian bakhshgis. 

As a result of the unstable political situation created 
by the death of Shahrukh in 850/1447, 'AIT Shir's 
family was forced to flee Harat until the restoration of 
order in the early 1450s enabled it to return to 
Khurasan. The chronology of C A1I Shir's life before he 
joined Husayn Baykara at the time of the latter's 
accession to power in Harat in 873/1469 is not entirely 
clear. His first patron appears to have been Abu '1- 
Kasim Babur, whose service he entered in Harat 
together with Husayn Baykara sometime before 
860/1456. But, as Husayn Baykara had earlier been in 
the service of Abu Sa'Td (with whom he soon fell out 
of favour, however, and remained on inimical terms), 
it is possible that 'All Shir, or at least his father, also 
accompanied Husayn Baykara when he entered the 
service of this TTmurid prince in 858/1454. 

'AH Shir and Husayn Baykara both accompanied 
Abu '1-Kasim Babur to Mashhad in 860/1456, but 
after the latter's death in 861/1457, they parted ways 
for twelve years. Husayn Baykara then entered upon 
a period of kazaklik during which he struggled to 
establish himself politically, while 'All Shir pursued 
his studies in Mashhad, Harat and Samarkand. 
Although the dates of All Shir's movements between 
these cities are not stated explicitly in the sources, it 
is clear that he studied in Samarkand under Kh w adja 
Fadl Allah Abu '1-LaythI, an expert in fikh and 
Arabic, for a period of two years. It is however not 
clear whether he came to Samarkand solely for the 
purpose of studying or because he was banished from 
Harat by Abu Sa c Id, whose service he entered, 
according to V.V. Bartol'd, sometime after 868/1464. 
Both Bartol'd and E.E. Bertel's held the view that he 
was banished, arguing that, in those days, no one left 
Harat to study in Samarkand, which had become a 
provincial town in comparison with the capital (for a 
refutation of this view, see E.R. Rustamov, Stranitn 
iz biografii Alishera Navoi ("Pages from the biography 
of 'AH Shir Nawa'i"), in Kratkie soobshcenija Instituta 

narodov Azii, Moscow, lxiii [1963], 80-6). It is 
that 'All Shir was in Samarkand on two 
sions— the first in 862-3/1458-9 to pursue his i 
and the second around 871/1467 after he ei 
political troubles at the court of Abu Sa c Id in Harat. 
He also appears to have been in Mashhad twice 
during this period of his life. In Samarkand he was 
aided by two mentors— Darwlsh Muhammad Tar- 
khan, the brother-in-law of Abu Sa'Td, and Ahmad 
Hadjdji Beg, the powerful governor of the city, who 
was also a poet with the pen-name Wafa !. 

After the death of Abu Sa c Id in 873/1468 and 
Husayn Baykara's subsequent seizure of power in 
Harat on 10 Ramadan 873/24 March 1469, 'AH Shir 
left Samarkand, where he had been in the retinue of 
Ahmad Hadjdji Beg, in order to enter Husayn 
Baykara's service and, on Bayram 873/14 April 1469, 
presented him with his famous kasida entitled 
Hildliyya. He remained in the service of Husayn 
Baykara, who ruled Khurasan from Harat uninter- 
ruptedly for almost forty years (with the exception of 
the brief interregnum of Shahrukh's great-grandson, 
Muhammad Yadgar, in 875/1470), until his death on 
12 Djumada 1906/3 January 1501. He was buried in 

Although he held several offices, such as that of 
keeper of the seal (muhrddr), to which he was 
appointed by Husayn Baykara in 873/1469 and from 
which he soon resigned, C A1I Shir tried as a rule to 
avoid political office. Since he was not a member of 
one of the paramount Caghatay clans that constituted 
the Tlmurid military elite, he was not by birth an amir 
or beg and he was aware of the precariousness of his 
position at court compared with that of the hereditary 
begs on whom Husayn Baykara's power depended. 
He was, however, officially elevated to the rank of 

cerned with matters pertaining to the Tlmurids' 
Turkic subjects and matters of a military nature) by 
Husayn Baykara in 876/1472. In connection with this 
appointment, he was granted precedence in affixing 
his seal over that of all other amirs with the sole excep- 
tion of Muzaffar Barlas, one of Husayn Baykara's 
companions from his kazaklik days. In late 894/1488 
he asked to be relieved of his position as governor 
(hakim) of Astarabad, to which he had been appointed 
the previous year (for a refutation of Bartol'd's idea 
that 'All Shir was banished here by Husayn Baykara, 
see A. A. Semenov, Vzaimootnosheniya Alishera Navoi 
i Sultan Khuseyn-Mirz't ("Relations between 'All Shir 
Nawa'i and Sultan Husayn Baykara"), in lssledovaniya 
po istorii kul'lur'i narodov vostoka. Sbomik v cest' akad. I. A. 
Orbeli, Moscow-Leningrad 1960, 237-49). At the same 
time, he resigned from the office of amir (amr-i imdrat) 
or, as Babur put it, gave up "military duties" 
altogether, that is, the duties associated with the title, 
although he continued to retain the title itself. 

The strength of 'All Shir's position at the court of 
Husayn Baykara derived from his personal service to 
him based on their relationship as foster-brothers, 
rather than from any official positions held by him. 
'All Shir belonged to the inner circle of Husayn 
Baykara's courtiers (ickiyan) and, in his own words, 
stood closer to the throne than any of the great amirs. 
The honorific title that was bestowed upon him by 
Husayn Baykara and by which he is referred to in the 
contemporary sources was mukarrab-i hadrat-i sultani 
("the sultan's intimate"). As a result of his unique 
position at court. 'All Shir was often entrusted with 
important matters of state, such as acting as 
intermediary in the frequent conflicts between 
Husayn Baykara and his sons or governing Harat in 


the sultan's absence. It ought to be noted that c Ah Shir 

perpetuated in the secondary literature) nor could he 
have possessed this title, since, in the dual 
administrative structure of the Timurid government, 
it was reserved exclusively for officials of the Sari 
diwdni which dealt with non-Turkic, that is, sedentary 

as a rule non-Turks. 



:e lies 

, ie is universally conside 
greatest representative of Caghatay Turkish literature 
which, thanks to him, reached its apogee in the second 
half of the 9th/15th century at the court of Husayn 
Baykara in Harat. He was already regarded by his 
contemporaries as the greatest poet ever to have writ- 
ten in the Turkish language. Indeed, his family 
background seemed to predispose him to the poetic art 
as two of his maternal uncles were poets with the pen- 
names Kabul! and Gharibl, as was his cousin, Amir 
Haydar, who wrote under the name of Sabuhi. 

Despite the fact that Persian had traditionally been 
regarded as the literary language par excellence in 
Central Asia since the 4th/10th century, C A1I Shir 
championed the cause of the Caghatay, or Eastern 
Turkic, literary language (usually referred to by con- 
temporaries simply as Turki) which represented a con- 
tinuation of such Middle Turkic language as 
Karakhanid (5th-7th/l lth- 13th centuries) and 
Kh-arazmian (8th/14th century). He argued that not 
only could it vie with Persian but that it was also 
superior to it as a language for poetry. Following the 
lead of earlier Caghatay poets of the Timurid period, 
such as Lutfi [q.v.], Sakkaki and Gada'I, C A1I Shir 
forged Caghatay into a supple instrument of poetic 
expression and, in so doing, endowed it with its 
classical form. 

He composed almost thirty works under the pen- 
name Nawa'I, trying his hand at all the literary genres 
practised in his day. His chief models were, by his 
own admission, the Persian masters, Amir Khusraw 
Dihlawi— probably the most admired and widely 
imitated poet in the late 9th/15th century— Nizami, 
Hafiz and Djaml. His fame rests mainly on his 
poetical works which constitute the bulk of his 
literary output. The most important of these, written 
in Caghatay, are: 

(i) Khazd">in al-ma^ani, being the final edition of his 
four diwdns, arranged by him shortly before his death 
and entitled respectively GhariPib al-sighar 
("Curiosities of Childhood"), Nawddir al-shabab 
("Marvels of Youth"), BaddV al-wasat ("Wonders of 
Middle Age") and FawdHd al-kibar ("Advantages of 
Old Age"), corresponding to the four ages of his life, 
but in fact material in each is not restricted to any par- 
ticular period. This collection contains mainly ghazals, 
but also some tuyughs, the Eastern Turkic quatrain 
with homonymic end-rhyme. 

(ii) Khamsa, or Quintet, modelled on the Khamsas of 
Nizami, Amir Khusraw and Djaml, although often 
with a very different emphasis or interpretation and 
reflecting his personal ideals, such as his concern with 
justice. It comprises: (a) Hayrat al-abrdr (completed 
888/1483), a didactic mathnawi modelled on Nizaml's 
Makhzan al-asrdr, Amir Khusraw's Malla c al-anwdr and 
Djaml's Tuhfat al-ahrdr; (b) Farhdd u Shirin (completed 
889/1484), a romantic mathnawi modelled on Nizaml's 
Khusraw u Shirin and Amir Khusraw's Shirin u 
Khusraw- (c) Layli u Madjnun, a romantic mathnawi 
modelled on Nizaml's and Amir Khusraw's mathnawis 
of the same name; (d) Sab c a-yi sayydr (completed about 
889/1483), a romantic mathnawi modelled on Nizaml's 

Haftpaykar and Amir Khusraw's Hasht bihisht; and (e) 
Sadd-i Iskandari (completed about 890/1485), a didac- 
lodelled on Nizaml's Iskandar-nama and 


's Ayinc 

mpleted 904/1498-9), a mystical 
nathnawi based on c Attar's Mantik al-tayr and written 
jnder the pen-name Fanl. 
Among Nawaz's prose works in Caghatay may 

;iv) Madjdlis al-nafd^is (completed 897/1491-2 but 



904/1498-9), the first tadhkira, or literary historical 

work, in Turkish and the first that dealt almost 

exclusively with contemporary poets. 

(v) Muhdkamat al-lughatayn (completed 905/1499), a 

treatise comparing the relative merits of the Persian 

and Caghatay languages. 

(vi) Mizdn al-awzdn (completed after 898/1499), a 

treatise on the Arab-Persian prosodic system, but also 

containing information on some characteristically 

Turkic verse forms. 

(vii) Mahbub al-kulub (completed 906/1500-1), 

Nawa'I's final work of a didactic nature written in 

rhymed prose with verses interspersed, and modelled 

on Sa c dl's Gulistdn and Djaml's Bahdristdn. 

(viii) Khamsat al-mutahayyirin (composed after 

898/1492), a prose work interspersed with verses and 

dedicated to Djaml. 

(ix) Nasd^im al-mahabba (completed 901/1495-6), a 

translation and expansion of Djaml's collected 

biographies of Sufi saints, entitled Nafahdt al-uns. 

Nawa'l also wrote several works in Persian: a 
Diwdn (completed 902/1496) in imitation mainly of 
Hafiz, in which he used the pen-name Fanl; Risdla-yi 
mu'ammd (completed some time before 898/1492), a 
treatise on the enigma; and a collection of model 

Other works in Caghatay of secondary 
significance are the biographies of two of Nawa'I's 
close companions, Hdldt-i Pahlawan Muhammad; two 
short histories, Tarikh-i muluki c AdJam and Tarikh-i 

aphorisms ascribed to ' c All, entitled [Nathr al-la^dli; a 
verse translation of Djaml's work, Cihil hadith; a col- 
lection of model letters; and a Wakfiyya (completed 

The impact of Nawa'T's works on all Turkic peoples 
and languages cannot be overestimated. He exerted a 
profound influence not only on later Central Asian 
authors who wrote in Caghatay up until the beginning 
of the 20th century, but also on the development of 
Azeri (especially on the poetry of Fudull {q.v.} of 
Baghdad d. 963/1556), Turkmen (the 12th/18th cen- 
tury poet Makhdum Kuli [q.v.]), Uyghur, Tatar and 
Ottoman Turkish literatures. Ottoman poets con- 
tinued to write imitations of his poems in Caghatay 
until the 19th century (see E. Birnbaum, The Ottomans 
and Chagalay literature, in CAJ, xx/3 [1976], 157-90). 
Soviet scholarship, which has termed Caghatay "Old 
Uzbek", considers him the founder of literary Uzbek 
(A.K. Borovkov, Alisher Navoi kak osnovopoloznik 
uzbekskogo liter aturno go yazika (" C A1I Shir Nawa'I as the 
founder of the literary Uzbek language"), in Alisher 
Navoi. Sbornik statey, ed. Borovkov, Moscow- 
Leningrad 1946, 92-174). Proof of the tremendous 
interest in the works of Nawa'I among not only the 
Turkic but also the Iranian-speaking peoples are the 
many specialised dictionaries that were written on the 
basis of his works, such as Tali c Imam's Caghatay- 
Persian dictionary, BaddY al-lughat, composed during 
the reign of Husayn Baykara (see Borovkov, "BaddY 
al-lugat": slovar Tali 1 - Imdni geratskogo k socineniyam 


Alishera Navoi ("Tali c ImanI of Harat's dictionary to 
the works of C A1I Shir Nawa'T"), Moscow 1961), the 
anonymous Caghatay-Ottoman dictionary, Abushka 
(mid- 16th century) and Mirza Mahdl Khan's 
Caghatay-Persian dictionary, Sanglakh (mid- 18th 

Apart from his linguistic and literary contributions, 
C A1I Shir's historical significance also lies in his exten- 
sive patronage activities. The fact that, in the second 
half of the 9th/15th century, almost all literary, artistic 
and cultural life in the eastern Islamic lands was con- 
centrated in Timurid Harat was due as much to his 
personal efforts as a pre-eminent patron as it was to 
his own artistic example and inspiration. With an 
interest not only in poetry, but also in music, 
calligraphy, painting and architecture, he oversaw the 
activities of virtually all artists and literati in 
Khurasan, according to Muhammad Haydar. Among 
the many who benefited directly from his financial 
support were the historians, MIrkh w and and Kh w an- 
damlr; the literary historian, Dawlatshah; the poets, 
Djamt, c AsafT, Sayff Bukharl, Hatifi and Hilall; the 
composers of mu c ammd (a favourite genre of his), 
Husayn Mu'araraa'i and Muhammad Badakhshi: 
and the musicians Shaykhi Na'I and Husayn c UdI. 
His support of artists of the royal atelier (kitdbkhdna), 
such as the painters, Bihzad, Shah Muzaffar, Kasim 
C A1I and HadjdjI Muhammad (the latter tentatively 
identified by E. Esin as Siyah Kalam), and the 
calligraphers, Sultan C A1T Mashhadl and Sultan 
Muhammad Khandan, helped make the second half 
of the 9th/ 15 th century the highpoint of miniature 
painting and book production in Central Asia and 
have earned for it the appellation "Timurid Renais- 
sance" in Western scholarship. Many of the finest 
illuminated manuscripts of the period are in fact of 
Nawa'T's works, particularly of his Khamsa and 
Dtwans. The tradition of producing richly decorated 
manuscripts of his works continued until the 19th cen- 
tury in Central Asia (see Alisher Navoiy asarlariga 
ishlangan rasmlar XV-XIX asrlar ("Miniature paintings 
illustrating the works of c Ali Shir Nawa'I, XV-XIX 
centuries") [text in Uzbek, Russian and English], 
comp. Kh. Sulaymon and F. Sulaymonova, Tashkent 

c Ali Shir's patronage activities included the dona- 
tion and endowment of about 370 buildings, architec- 
tural ensembles and public works in Khurasan, 
especially in and around Harat. Among these was the 
huge Ikhlasiyya complex to the north of the 

2, khdnkdh. 

i. Kh"andamlr 
i he donated through- 
out Khurasan, about 20 reservoirs (hawd) in Harat, 15 
bridges, nine public baths, and 14 mosques in Harat 
and other cities, such as Isfizar, Sarakhs and 
Astarabad. In many cases, pious endowments which 
he made provided for the maintenance of scholars, 
students and the poor. He was also involved in 
restoration work and was responsible for the 
reconstruction of, among other monuments, the Fri- 
day mosque of Harat which dated back to Ghurid 
times (early 7th/13th century) (see L. Golombek, The 
resilience of the Friday mosque the case of Herat, in 
Muqarnas, i [1983], 95-102). 

C A1I Shir's patronage activities were financed from 
personal sources of revenue derived from land- 
holdings throughout Khurasan (but particularly in the 
region north of Harat) or connected with his appoint- 
ment as amir, such as the royal mint and royal 
workshops. Various estimates of his daily income 


: that he w 

.e of tr 


of his 

Despite a certain idealisation of C A1T Shir in the 
writings of his contemporaries (such as Kh w an- 

al-shu'-ara' r ) as well as in the early secondary literature 
(e.g., F.A. Belin's Notice biographique et litteraire sur Mir 
Ali-Chir Nevdii, in JA, 5<= serie, xvii [1861], 175-256), 
which stress such positive aspects of his character as 
his integrity, refinement, charitable works, 
patronage, etc., it is possible from other s< 


of h 

icter trait which is mentioned by 1: 
authors such as Muhammad Haydar and Babur is his 
hypersensitivity, which, coupled with the high moral 
and artistic standards which he set both for himself 
and for others, made him a demanding and difficult 


. In des. 

bing hi 

ifl offers a glim 
acter, which often manifested it; 
ren sarcasm (see A.N. Boldire 
azakh soveremennikov (" C A1I Shir : 

ve side of hi 

Borovkov, 121-52). 
In his personal life, 

children. Although ini 

IT Shir 

ing o 

ving c 



and lifelong friend, the 
poet and mystic, Djaml, in 881/1476-7, 
ind of mysticism was not of the "intoxicated", 
her of the more worldly variety practised by the 
'hole. Much has been made of his pur- 

1 Shl^i 

:e for the per- 

evidence that this wen 
son of C A1I, a featui 

The complex figure of C A1I Shir sparked the popular 
imagination of many Turkic peoples. Turkmen 
folktales, for example, depict him as the clever wazir, 
Mirali, who always comes to the defence of the poor 
before his extravagant and misguided sultan, while 
Uzbek legends revolve around the mysterious reasons 
for his celibacy. Many of his ghazals have become 
popular Uzbek folk songs and some of his works have 
been staged as dramatic plays by modern Uzbek 

Bibliography: The chief primary sources for the 
life of C A1I Shir Nawa'I are: Kh^andamlr, Makdnm 
al-akhldk, ed. T. GandjeT, GMS (n.s.) xxvii, [Cam- 
bridge] 1979; idem, Habib al-siyar, Tehran 1333 sh. 
1954, iv, 137 ff.; Dawlatshah, 494-509; c Abd Allah 
Marwarld, Sharaf-ndma (Staatsschreiben der 
Timundenzeit. Das Saraf-namd des <Abdalldh Marwdrid 
in kritischer Auswertung), ed. and tr. H.R. Roemer, 
Wiesbaden 1952, 27b-28a, 43b; Babur, The Bdbar- 
ndma, ed. A.S. Beveridge, GMS, i, Leiden 1905, 
170b-171b; Wasifl, Baddyi c al-wakayF, ed. A.N. 
Boldlrev, Moscow 1961, i, 484-632; Muhammad 
Haydar, Tankh-i rashidi (still unpublished, but the 
biographical section of Husayn Baykara's reign, 
which was not included by E. Denison Ross in his 
English translation, is extracted in Iktibds az Tarikh-i 
rashidi, ed. M. Shaff, in Oriental College Magazine, 
x/3 [1934], 155-7); Sam Mirza, Tuhfa-yi sami, ed. 
W. DastgirdI, Tehran 1314 sh./1936, 179-81; 
Fakhri Harawl, Latd'tf-ndma (in The Majalis-un- 
Nafa Hs, ' ' Galaxy Poets' ' , of Mir 'Alt Shir Nava ~ " ~ 

16th a 

y Persi 

. Hekm 

. 1223 sh./1945), 133-6. Manusc] 
Nawa'I's works abound in libraries throughout the 
world, particularly in Istanbul, London, Paris, 
Leningrad and Tashkent. For references to descrip- 
tions of major collections, see J. Eckmann, Die 
tschagataische Literatur, in PTF, ii, Wiesbaden 1964, 
352-3. In the Soviet Union alone there are over a 


thousand manuscripts (based mainly on the count 
made by Kh. Sulaymon[ov]), the great majority of 
which are of the Diwans and Khamsa. For a descrip- 
tion not mentioned by Eckmann, see Alisher Navoiy 
asarlanning UzSSR janlar akademiyasi sharkshunoslik- 
instituti tuplamidagi kulezmalari ("Manuscripts of the 
works of C A1T Shir Nawa'T in the collection of the 
Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of 
Sciences of the Uzbek S.S.R."), comp. K.M. 
Munirov and A. Nasirov, Tashkent 1970. 

There are a great many published editions of 
Nawa'I's works, and the secondary literature on 
him is voluminous, particularly in Soviet scholar- 
ship. The following bibliographical works may be 
consulted: A. A. Semenov, Material! k 
bibliograficeskomu ukazatelyu pecatnikh proizvedeniy 
Alishera Navoi i literaturi o nem ("Materials for a 
bibliography of the published works of C A1T Shir 
Nawa'I and the secondary literature on him"), 
Tashkent 1940; Eckmann, op. at., 352-7; E.D. 
Svidina, Alisher Navoi. Biobibliografiya (1917-1966 
gg.), Tashkent 1968; B.V. Lunin, Isloriya, kul'tura t 
iskusstvo uremeni timuridov v sovetskoy literature ("The 
history, culture and art of the Timurid period in 
Soviet secondary literature"), in Obshcestvenme nauki 
o Uzbekistan, viii-ix (1969), 108-13. The most com- 
plete published edition of his works is Alisher 
Navoi, Asarlar (in Cyrillic characters), 15 vols., 
Tashkent 1963-8. For a complete Russian transla- 
tion, see Alisher Navoi, Soaneniya, 10 vols., 
Tashkent 1968-70. The main secondary works (in 
addition to those mentioned in the text) are the 
monographs by V.V. BartoPd, Mir Ali-Shir i poli- 



cal life") in his Soaneniya, ii/2, Moscow 1964, 197- 
260 (originally publ 1928' German tr W Hinz 
Herat unler Husan Baiqara dim Timunden Leipzig 
1938; English tr V and T Mmorsky Four studus 
on the history of Gential 4«a in I eiden 1962 1 72) 
E.E. Bertel s hbrannie trudi iv Naioi i Dzami 
Moscow 1965 13 206 (originally publ 1948) Agah 
Sirri Levend Alt Sir Neiai 4 \ols Ankara 1965 8 

Latin character) The most valuable collections ol 
articles are: Mir Ah Shir Sboimk k pyahotletiyu w 
dnya rocdeniya ( Collection of articlts on tht occasion 
of the 500th anmversarv ol his bnth ) td V V 
Bartol'd, Lemngiad 1928 (see in particular the arti 
' ' ~ ' Neiai i Httar) Rodor, ' ' 


("The Founder of Uzbek hteiaturt ) Tashkent 
1940 [see the interesting irticlc by M Silt kmga 
blagorodmkh kaitsh i ee aito, ( The Makartm al 
akhldk and its author )] Alisher Naioi Sbornik statey 
ed. A.K. Borovkov Moscow Leningrad 1946 

. Yu. Yakubovsl 


i Nan 

( Fea 

of the social and cultural life 
C AH Shir Nawa'I"), 5-30, which contains infor 
mation on building activity; and A Belemtskiv 
IstonceskayatopografiyaGerataXVi ( Tht histoncal 
topography of 15th century Herat ) 175 202 
based on information from Kh^andamir s Khulasat 
al-akhbar\; and Velikiy uzbekskiy pod Sbornik slatty 
("The great Uzbek poet") ed M T Avbek 
Tashkent 1948 (contains a critique ol Belemtskiv s 
article mentioned above, by M E Masson K 
istoriceskoy topografii gerata XV veka 120 45) 

For works of a more general nature stt A Zeki 
Velidi Togan, All fir, in'lA, i, 349 57 (but nott that 
all source references are to an unpublished collet 

tion of extracts made by Togan himself); Eckmann, 
op. at., 304-402; A. Bombaci, Hisloire de la /literature 
turque, tr. I. Melikoff, Paris 1968, 118-35. Most of 
the recent work has been done in the Uzbek S.S.R. 
Of note is Adabiy meros ("Literary heritage"), a 
publication (since 1968) of the Uzbek Academy of 
Sciences (articles in Uzbek with brief English sum- 
maries). For a recent article in English, see M.E. 
Subtelny, l Ali Shir NavaX bakhshi and beg, in 
Eucharisterion. Essays presented to Omeljan Pritsak on his 
sixtieth birthday [ = Harvard Ukrainian Studies, iii-iv 
(1979-80)],_pt. 2, 797-807. (M.E. Subtelny) 
MIR AMAN [see amAn, mir]. 
MIR BABAR <ALI [see anIs]. 
MIR DJA'FAR [see dja'far, mir]. 
MIR DJUMLA, Muhammad Sa c Td, prominent 
minister and military commander in llth/17th 
century Muslim India, first in the service of the Kutb- 
Shahl ruler of Golkonda c Abd Allah b. Muhammad 
[see kutb-shahis] and then in that of the Mughals 
Shah Djahan and Awrangzlb [q.vv.\, died in 

Stemming originally from Persia, he was at the 
outset a diamond merchant and accumulated a vast 

ngs and f 




r temple 

wn priva 

e a 

y of 5,000 



the defea 






at Golkonda in Rabl c II 1066/February 1656 at the 
hands of the prince Awrangzlb, viceroy of the Deccan, 
Mir Djumla went over to the Mughals, who honoured 
him and gave him the title of Mu c azzam Khan L He 
commanded the Mughal troops against the c Adil- 
Shahls [q v ] of Bidjapur in Muharram 1067/Novem- 
ber 1656 and then in Shawwal 1070/June 1660 

mdjas ol Kacch Bihar (Cooch Behar) and Assam [q.v.\ 
immtdiattiv on appointment and in the period 
Djumada I Radjab 1072/Januaiv March 1662, the 
latter campaign culminating in tht capture of the 
Ahom tadja ol Assam s capital ol Garhgaon. But the 



tturn to Bengal and he him: 
dystnteiy in spring 1073/1663 at Khidq 
lort reaching Dacca leaving behind hirr 
ion ol having bttn tht gitatest general of 



badi Ua\ 

in 530 5") H Blochmann in flSB, xl, 51 ; Elliot 
mdDowson History of India \n 199; Mountstuart 
Elphinstone History of India London 1889, 588- 
61? Camb hist of India u I he Mughul period, 207- 
9 234 5 SirJadunathSarkar History of Awrangzeb, 
mainly based on Persian sources, Calcutta 1912-24, i, 
216 28 345 6 351 if., ii, 242-5, 252-82, 287; iii, 
156 85 AT Roy, History of Bengal, Mughal period 
(!■>>(> 1765 4 £».), Cain. "" 

The hi 

\ Musi 

n perioc 

1200 17 u Patna 1973, 339-50; R.C. Maji 
(td ) The history and culture of the Indian people, vii. 
Ihe Mughul empire, Bombay' 1974, 210-11, 227-8, 
475 7 515 517 520; M. Athar Ali, The apparatus of 

nobility (l c >74 1658), Dihll 1985, index s.v. Mir 
Muhammad Sa c Id, Mu c azzam Khan, Mir Jumla. 


MIR GHULAM HASAN [see hasan, mir 
~~ MIR KASIM C ALI, Indo-Muslim commander 



Mir Kasim's rise to power was an episode in the 
British East Indian Company's extension of power in 
eastern India in the latter decades of the 18th century. 
Since the Nawwab of Bengal Mir Dja c far [see dja c far, 
mir] was unable to fulfill financial obligations con- 
tracted to the Company, he was in October 1760 
deposed in favour of his son-in-law Mir Kasim, who 
now became Nawwab but had to cede the districts of 
Burdwan, Midnapur and Chittagong to the British. 
However, he now attempted to build up for himself an 
independent state in Upper Bengal and Bihar, aban- 
doning Lower Bengal to the British, moving his 
capital to the less accessible Mungir [q.v.] in Bihar 
and forming an army on European lines trained by an 
Armenian, Gurgin (Gregorios) Khan. Relations with 
Britain became strained over the question of private 
trading within India, for Europeans trading inland 
claimed exemption from duties, thus diminishing the 
Nawwab's revenues. War broke out in Bihar in July 
1763. Mir Kasim's new army proved ineffective; 
Mungir and Patna were captured; and Mir Kasim 
fled to Awadh (Oudh) [q. v. ] and sought the alliance of 
the Nawwdb-wazir of Awadh Shudja c al-Dawla and the 
Mughal Emperor in Dihli, Shah c Alam II. The allies 
were nevertheless defeated at Baksar (Buxar [q.v.]) on 
23 October 1764 by Major Hector Munro, but Mir 
Kasim had already been stripped of his possessions 
and imprisoned by Shudja c al-Dawla. He now 
escaped, led a wandering life and died near Dihli in 
1777. Mir Dja c far had been briefly restored in Bengal 
till his death in 1765, with British control there firmly 

Bibliography: T.W. Haig (ed.), The Cambridge 
history of India, v, British India 1497-1858, Cam- 
bridge 1929, 167-174; R.C. Majumdar (ed.), The 
history and culture of the Indian people. The Maratha 
supremacy, Bombay 1977, 343-9; P.J. Marshall, The 
new Cambridge history of India. II 2. Bengal: the British 
bridgehead. Eastern India 1740-1828, Cambridge 
1987, 84-8. _ (C.E. Bosworth) 

MIR LAWHI, Sayyid Muhammad b. Muhammad 
al-Husayni, referred to also by his nickname as 
"mutahhar" and nom-de-plume as "Nakibi", a 
noted Shi c i religious scholar of Sabzwari origin, 
but resident in Isfahan during the Safawid period, flor. 
during the llth/17th century. He has not received any 
attention from biographers (and Muhammad C A1I 
Mudarris, who secured him an entry of a few lines in 
his Rayhdnat al-adab ft taradfim al-ma'rufin bi 'l-kunya aw 
al-lakab, vi, Tabriz n.d., 235-6, seems to be an excep- 
tion), because Mir Lawhl proved to be an outspoken 
critic of two overwhelmingly-recognised religious 
leaders of his time, Muhammad Bakir Madjlisi and 
his father Muhammad Taki, known as Madjlisi-yi 
Awwal [q.v.]. As a matter of fact, his name has been 
referred to mostly in association with his criticism of 
the Madjlisls; see, for instance, Husayn Nurl, al-Fayd 
al-kudsifi tardjamat al- c Allama al-Madjlisl, Tehran 1887, 
22 (attached to the first volume of the old edition of 
Muhammad Bakir Madjlisi' s Bihar al-anwar), though 
the same author also mentions him solely as one of the 
authors who wrote on the Twelfth Imam (idem, Nadjm 
al-thakib dar ahwdl-i Imam-i ghaHb, Tehran n.d., 5). 

The principal source of information on Mir Lawhl 
is his own polemical book written in 1081-3/1670-2 
and entitled Kifayat al-muhtadi fi mahifat al-Mahdi, from 
which a few facts about his life may be learnt. The 
book, for instance, indicates that Mir Lawhl was an 
advanced student of religious subjects under such 
well-known Shi*! authorities as Shaykh Baha' al-Din 
Muhammad al- c Amili (d. ca. 1031/1621 [q.v.] and 
Mir Muhammad Bakir Damad (d. ca. 1041/1631) 

{Kifayat, ms. no. 1121, Faculty of Theology, Univer- 
sity of Mashhad, 65; this is an abridged copy of his 
book made in 1083/1672 by one of his friends, who 
also included in it a number of his own viewpoints and 
factual stories about Madjlisi; for a complete version 
of Mir LawhI's book consult that of the Madjlis 
Library, Tehran, no. 833, introduced with some 
detail in Diya 5 al-Din Hada'ik Ibn Yusuf ShlrazI, 
Fihrist-i kitabkhana-yi madflis-i shura-yi milli, edited and 
enlarged by Abdol Hossein Haeri, Tehran 1974, 54- 
9; our references here are only to the abridged copy.) 
The fact that Mir Lawhl was an advanced student in 
or before 1031/1621 suggests that he could not have 
been less than 20 years at age at that time and conse- 
quently his date of birth must have been ca. 
1010/1601. The book also shows that Mir LawhI's 
areas of intellectual interests were Shl'I theology, the 
lmamate, especially the questions relative to the 
Twelfth Imam, and the refutation of all forms of 
Sufism. The other books he ascribed to himself, such 
as AHam al-muhibbin, Idra> al- c a~kilin wa-ikhzd? al- 
madjamn, Zad al-'-ukba fi manakib al-aHmma wa 'l-awsiyd, 
and even his Riyad al-mu>minin wa-haddHk al-muttakin, 
which he wrote during his youth, were written on 
those subjects; the latter books, however, do not seem 
to have been available to the authors in the field. 

Mir Lawhl was also interested in Islamic history 
and wrote a controversial book, in or sometime before 
1043/1633, on the problem of Abu Muslim al- 
Khurasanl's rising against the Umayyads. According 
to a note written by Muhammad c Abd al-Hasib al- 
Husaynl in 1063/1654, Mir Lawhl argues in his book 
that Abu Muslim (d. 137/754) [q.v.] whose origin 
from Khurasan, Marw, or Isfahan has not been deter- 
mined, did actually win the caliphate for the tyran- 
nical c Abbasids, but was never a friend of the Shrn 
Imams., and was murdered for his evil deeds by the 
then 'Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur (d. 158/774), who 
was more wicked than himself. Some people did not 
tolerate Mir LawhI's condemnation of Abu Muslim, 
and troubled him with all their effort and power (bi- 
kull cgidd wa-kuwwa.) A number of Mir LawhI's con- 
temporary '■ulama', however, defended his argumenta- 

subject, and one of them was the Izhdr al-hakk wa- 
mi'-yar al-sidk written _ in 1043/1633 by al-Sayyid 
Ahmad al- c Alawi al- c AmilI, the father of c Abd al- 
Haslb (Muhammad Muhsin Agha Buzurg TihranI, 
al-DharFa ild tasantf al-ShFa, iv, Tehran 1941, 150-1, 
where there can also be found a list of seventeen books 
written in support of Mir LawhI's position on the 

The reasons behind this confusion and controversy, 
which involved the common people as well as a 
number of religious authorities, seem to be found 
mainly in Mir LawhI's ideological difference with the 
Sufis, whom Madjlisi-yi Awwal stoutly supported. 
MTr Lawhl himself alludes to the story, saying that 
since Madjlisi-yi Awwal used to praise "Abu Muslim 
Marwazi [sc. of Marw] and the sorcerer, the evil-doer 
[and the famous Sufi Husayn b. Mansur] al-Halladj 
(d. 309/922)", he said something against them, but 
"the ignorant people" became hostile against him 
and even planned to murder him (Muhammad Taki 
Danishpazhuh, Fihrist-i kitabkhana-yi ihdaH-yi Aka-yi 
Sayyid Muhammad MishkFat bi kitabkhana-yi ddnishgdh-i 
Tihran, iii/3, Tehran 1956, 1497.) Mutahhar b. 
Muhammad al-Mikdadi, who refuted the Sufis in a 
treatise written in 1060/1650, thus elaborated on the 
matter: "Due to the hostility and mischievousness of 
the Sufis, the helpless Sayyid [Mir Lawhl], who pro- 
hibited the common people from loving Abu Muslim, 


deal" (cited in al-Dhari^a, iv, 151.) 

Owing to this unhappy experience, MIr LawhT was 
reluctant to oppose the popular Madjlisls, notwith- 
standing the fact that he had found Muhammad Bakir 
Madjlisl's book on radfa (the returning, according to 
Shr^i belief, of some dead persons to his world) quite 
harmful to the beliefs of the common believers, and 
that some people had also asked him to refute it. 
Since, however, Mir LawhT saw a dream, after which 
he felt himself appointed (ma^mur) to refute Madjlisf, 
he wrote his Kifayat al-muhtadi (Kifayat , 5-19), in which 
he not only refuted many of Madjlisl's interpretations 

witness facts about him and his father that have been 
rarely quoted by other authors. In defiance of the fact 
that the two Madjlisls have been truly recognised as 
prominent mudjtahids, who greatly contributed to Sh^I 
theology, culture and tradition, Mir LawhT believed 
that they were gathering the ordinary and ignorant 
people C-awamm) on Isfahan round themselves, and 

to ascribe any wrongdoing to any of them" (Kifayat, 
1-2. )_ 

against Madjlisl's interpretation of a hadith in which 
MadjlisI wanted people to believe that the fifth Imam 
of the ShlS, Muhammad al-Bakir (d. 114/732, 
[q.v. ]), had foretold that the Safawid monarchs would 
appear in the east to promote the true religion and 
that they would retain rulership until they would 
finally transfer their power to no-one but the Twelfth 
Imam (Muhammad Bakir MadjlisI [Tardjama-yi 
cahardah hadith], ms. no. 69, Faculty of Theology, 
University of Mashhad, 4-6; this treatise, which is 
dedicated to the Safawid monarch Shah Sulayman (d. 
1106/1694), is also referred to as Risdlafi 'l-raafa and 
Risalat al-radfa, and was published under the title of 
Ithbat al-radfa in Bombay in 1888; the printed copy of 
the book has not been available to this author; for 
more information on the contents of this treatise, with 
references to Mir LawhT's accounts, see Fihrist-i 
kitabkhana-yi ihdaH-yi Akd Sayyid Muhammad Mishk"U, 
iii/3, 1203-12.). Mir Lawhi points out that in dealing 
with the hadith in question, which has been classified 
as "rare and weak" (shddhdh-i daHf). MadjlisI commit- 
ted these blameworthy acts: (1) interpreting the hadith 
le for 


orting it 

gaining worldly 

tive grammar; (4) deceiving "the king of the Shi c a" 
and the illiterate general public (^awdmm); and (5) 
making some geographical errors (Kifayat, 21-5). 

In his book, Mir Lawhi also criticises Madjlisl-yi 
Awwal on various matters. He refers, for instance, to 
this story that Madjlisl-yi Awwal has revealed 
(paraphrasing): "In the beginnings of my search for 
the truths of the Kur'an, one night I had a short nap 
(sina), during which I saw the Prophet Muh 

It that 

I think 

Vfter that, I began to think deeply , 
s of the Kur~ 

describe even a little, though! spend all my life" 
(Muhammad TakI MadjlisI, Lawdmp-i sahibkirani al- 
mushtahar bi-sharh al-fakih, new ed. Tehran n.d., i, 
100.) Mir Lawhi argues that in the Sh^I belief, 
ordinary human beings can earn limited knowledge 
only through the teachings of other human beings. 

incalculable extent of knowledge" through super- 

natural means, which is simply a piece of boasting (laf 
gazaf) which he learnt from the well-known Sufi 
Muhyi al-DIn Ibn al- c ArabI (d. 638/1240), certainly 
contradicts Sh^I belief and even places him higher 
than the first Shi 4 ! Imam, C A1I b. Ab! Talib (Kifayat, 

MIr Lawhi says that Madjlisl-yi Awwal's connec- 
tions with Sufism are indisputable, and adds that, as 
a Sufi, he held the Sufi types of gatherings in which 
songs were sung by singers such as Shah MIrza 
Zarkash, that he used to ascribe great miracles to the 
SOiis, such as al-Halladj and Bayazld al-Bistaml (d. 
261/874), from the pulpit, and that he in turn enjoyed 
the support of the followers of those Sufis and of the 
common people. MIr Lawhi even held a public debate 
with Madjlisl-yi Awwal in the latter's mosque; the 
proceedings of the debate have been reportedly 
recorded in a book (Kifayat, 111-20.) On the basis of 
his eye-witness information, MIr Lawhi comes to the 
conclusion that Muhammad Bakir Madjlisl's attempt 
to deny his father's ties with Sufism is useless and 
wrong (on Madjlisl's defence of his father, see 
Muhammad Bakir NadjafI Yazdl, Sharh-i kitab-i 
iHikadat-i Islam bi kalam-i ^Allama Madjlisi, Tehran 
1975, 393-4, and madilisI-yi awwal, Muhammad 

Some authors have reported that Mir Lawhi, out of 
hostility to MadjlisI, demolished the grave of the well- 
known religious authority Abu Nu c aym Ahmad b. 
c Abd Allah Isfahan! (d. 430/1038), who is reportedly 
claimed by MadjlisI to have been his Shfr ancestor 
(Muhammad Bakir al-MusawI al-Kh w ar,sari, Rawddt 
al-diannat ft ahwdl al- c ulama> wa 'l-sddal, Tehran 1947, 
75; anon., Ndma-yi danishwaran dar sharh-i hal-i shishsad 
tan az danishmandan-i ndmi, vii, Kum n.d., 6). This 
allegation is hard to believe, because it is quite 
improbable that MIr Lawhi could have taken such an 
action in Isfahan, either before the Afghan invasion in 
1135/1722, when the MadjlisI family was enjoying 
great popularity, power and influence, or afterwards, 
Mir Lawhi an age 



respect (Kifayat, 90-1.) It may be worth noting that 
authors such as Ibn Khallikan. despite Madjlisl's 
claim, make no mention of Abu Nu c aym's Shi*! 
religious convictions (Wafayat, ed. Ihsan 'Abbas, 
Beirut 1968-72, i, 91-2.) More details on the question 
can be found in Ndma-yi danishwaran, vii, 1-21. 

At present, we have no detailed knowledge of MIr 

that he had a son, Sayyid Muhammad HadI b. al- 
Lawh! al-Musaw! al-Husaynl, who has left some 
writings in Persian under the titles of Usui al-^akaM 
and ArbaHn (al-Dhari^a, i, Nadjaf 1936, 431), and that 
he was the ancestor of the Sayyids of Durca such as 
the recently-deceased mudjtahids, Sayyid Muhammad 
Bakir Durca'i (d. 1342/1923) and his brother Sayyid 
Mahdl DurcVi (d. 1364/1944) ( c Abd al-Karlm DjazI, 
Rigjal-i Isfahan yd tadhkirat al-kubur, 1949, 67-8, 122.) 
Bibliography. In addition to the works cited in 

the article, see Bibl. to madjlisi, muhammad bAkir. 
(Abdul-Hadi Hairi) 

MIR-I MIRAN (p.) "supreme commander", a 

n used ii 

Ottoman Turkish adm 
virtually synonymous with beglerbegi [q.v.] "provincial 
governor", and then increasingly used to denote the 
honorary rank of beglerbegi, although this last title was 
considered as somewhat superior to that of mir-i miran. 
Holders of the rank of mir-i miran enjoyed the designa- 
tion of Pasha, and were entitled to be addressed as 


Sa'-ddetlu Efendim Hadretleri. In the 19th century, it also 
became a civil service rank. Before the administrative 
reforms of 1259/1843, civil officials held military 
ranks, such as ferik "divisional commander" and mir-i 
liwd "brigadier". The award of military ranks for 
them now ceased, and the equivalent ranks of mir-i 
mirdn and emir iil-umerP were given to them. 

Bibliography: M.Z. Pakahn, Osmanh tarih 

deyimleri ve terimleri sozlugii, ii, Istanbul 1953, on 

whose material this article is based. 

(F.A.K. Yasamee) 

MIR MUHAMMAD MA'SUM, known as NamI, 
historian of Sind in the Mughal period. He was the 
son of a shaykh al-hldm from the island in the Indus 
river in Sind of Bhakkar [see bakkar], born in the 
middle years of the 10th/ 16th century. After a stay in 
Gudjarat, he entered the service of the Mughal 
emperor Akbar [q.v.\ in 1003-4/1595-6 and received a 
mansab [q.v.] or land-grant of 250, being employed on 
a diplomatic mission to the court of the Safavid Shah 
c Abbas I of Persia. He returned to Bhakkar in 
1015/1606-7 and died there soon afterwards. 

His Persian Ta>rikh-i Sind, often referred to as the 
TaMkh-i Ma'sumi, deals with the Islamic history of his 
home province, and was edited by U.M. Daudpota, 
Poona 1938; see on it Storey, 651-3, 1324. 

Bibliography: Given in the article. Extracts 

from the TaMkh-i Sind were tr. in Elliot and 

Dowson, History of India, i, 215-52. (Ed.) 

MIR MUHAMMAD TAKI (1125-1223/1713- 
1810), leading Urdu ghazalpoet. 

He was born in Akbarabad (Agra), the son of a Sufi 
darwish who impressed on him the importance of 
divine love and the unreliability of this world, ideas 
which he was later to stress in his poetry. Biographical 
details are difficult to date, but he must have been 
about 15 years old when, following his father's early 
death, he went to Dihli to seek a livelihood. There he 
found a patron who, however, soon died, and he 
returned to Akbarabad. Little is known of his 
activities there, but it appears that he caused a family 
scandal by an affair with the wife of a relative. He 
returned to Dihli ca. 1152/1739, and stayed with an 
uncle of his stepbrother, the well-known Urdu poet 
Khan Arzu. He studied Arabic and Persian and the 
poetic art, and commenced a career as an Urdu poet. 
Despite the usettled situation in Dihli and the poet's 
own pride and independence, he was supported by 
s patrons, and became well-known as both 

. There 

instability in his make-up; indeed, he had a severe 
mental breakdown, which was exacerbated, and 
perhaps partially caused, by his step-brother's 
intrigues against him with Arzu, and the latter's 
insensitivity. But as Siddiki points out (op. cit.. in 
Bibi, 141), one of Mir's uncles had died young of 
brain disease. The poet recovered, but the effect of 
this illness can be seen in his autobiography (Dhikr-i- 
Mir), and in one of his mathnawis, Kh w db khaydl-i-Mir 
(Kulliyydt, 974 ff.). Ultimately, however, instability in 
Dihli due to Afghan and Maratha incursions led Mir 
to quit the city, like other poets before and after him. 
This was in 1190/1776 or thereabouts, when he was 
welcomed by the Nawwab Asaf al-Dawla and given a 
pension. Nevertheless, he was not happy there; 
perhaps his nature was such that he could never be 
happy anywhere for long. His pre-eminence in ghazal 
was recognised; but he was not influenced by the 
Lucknow style, nor is he generally believed to have 
influenced the Lucknow School, at any rate during his 
life-time. His leanings towards simplicity accorded ill 
with the Lucknow love of embellishment. He lived a 

further 30 or so years, but his last years were gloomy 
even by his own sorrowful standards, and he looked 
forward to death with equanimity. 

Mir's literary output is considerable. The core of 
his Urdu poetry, roughly two-thirds of it, consists of 
ghazals collected in six diwdns, and these constitute his 
main contribution to Urdu poetry. Next in impor- 

mathnawis are devoted to satire and eulogy, and there 
are a few kasidas [see madIh. 4. In Urdu]. To these 
should be added over 30 marthiyas, some stanza poetry 
and other miscellaneous verse. In Persian, his diwdn 
has attracted little interest. But his iadhkira of Urdu 
poets, Nikdt al-shu^ard^ (1 165/1752) is a pioneer work. 
Again in Persian, his autobiography Dhikr-i-Mir 
(1 169/1756) is important, not only as an account of his 
life before leaving Dihlr and a key to his personality, 
but also for the light it sheds on Dihli life in those 

Since his Dihli years, Mir has been widely 
acclaimed as a great — possibly the greatest — Urdu 
ghazal poet. As Brelwi puts it (Kulliyydt, Introd., 48), 
"he made ghazal what it is" (lit. "he made ghazal 
ghazal"). Even the poetry he wrote in other forms is 
largely ghazal in spirit. At the same time, excessive 
praise, due perhaps to oriental exaggeration, has not 
always been helpful. Even a reliable critic like Siddiki 
(op. cit., 140) begins a short account of him: "Mir 
TakI Mir is not merely the Emperor, but the God of 
poetry." Elsewhere, Brelwi aptly describes an impor- 
tant facet of the ghazals when he says that "the secret 
of Mir's renown and popularity is that he turned 
poetry into pain and pain into poetry." The 
pessimism in his ghazals might perhaps become bor- 
ing, but for the fact that he invests it with a sort of 
universality, so that the reader or listener can identify 
himself with it. Mir expects nothing of this life, which 
is deception and dream, with death just around the 
corner. Naturally, love and beauty are the main 
themes of the ghazals. The love is largely earthly, 
though there are Sufi overtones; but to him love is not 
merely pleasure, but also a trial (dzmd^ish) and an 
affliction (bald), since it ends in disappointment. Yet 
throughout his poetry are remarks clearly referring to 
the Sufi concept of love, e.g. 

How shall I say in truth what is love! 

To the righteous people (hakk-shinds) 

God is love 

ninds one 


anguage and 

At times his statement about love 
Muhammad Ikbal [q.v.]. 

Much has been written about Mir 
style, and the word sddagi("t 
indeed, there are many verses wmc 
versational in language. To him, 
important. His simplicity is most 
metres. Sadiq, a less than enthusiast 
his style (op. cit., in Bibl, 99) a 
nakedness". But though Mir avoids gaudy descrip- 

eaning was all- 

i, his diet 
niles and r 

s. His 

taphors are telling, but, like other 
sana^i-bada-i, they are employed as means rather than 
ends. The final section of his tadhkira should be read 
to appreciate his attitude to the use of foreign (i.e. 
Persian) vocabulary and idioms. He objected to them 
only where the grammar was foreign and not rekhta 
(=Urdu). Another feature of his ghazals is their 
musical effect. L.C. Randhir (op. cit. in Bibl., 177- 
212) has written about music and ghazal; but the music 
in Mir's poetry does not need singing or instrumental 
accompaniment— it is achieved by felicitous choice of 
metre and language. The harmonious use of con- 
sonants and vowels, tadjnis and word repetition are 


a perfect amalgam of life and a 

:, whils 

, they 

are far removed from the more familiar long heroic 
mathnawi typified by Sihr al-baydn [see hasan, mir 
ghulam]. But they are historically important. 

High praise of Mir as a poet has led to areaction, 
more especially since Muhammad Husayn Azad (Ab- 
i-haydt, 203-31). In his lifetime, critics praised his 72 
outstanding verses ("lancets"): but some more recent 
critics have maintained that "his high is very high, 
but his low is very low." Writing in 1964, Sadiq (op. 
cit. , 90) complains that there is nothing tragic or 
heroic about him, and that he is often "morbid, 
unhealthy and pathological". Even so, in 1973 
Ahmed Ali (op. cit. in Bibl. , 53) could describe him as 
a great Romantic who reached heights not attained by 
Coleridge, Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats. How- 
ever, in 1982, Randhir (op. cit, 60), after describing 
him as "a poet with a tearful eye. ..always gloomy... 

been too generous in praise." 

MIr's Persian tadhkira of Urdu poets, Nikat al- 
shu^ard^, has been described as no less important than 
his ghazals ( c Abd Allah, Shu^ard^-yi-Urdu, 14). The 
tadhkira form [q. v. ] may be described as a collection of 
specimen verses of a number of poets, with very brief 
biographical information and critical remarks. There 
was no standard arrangement: poets might be listed 
alphabetically, chronologically, by "schools", with or 
without dates. MIr's tadhkira is the oldest extant for 
Urdu poets, and one of the earliest. It has been 
strongly attacked for its hostile assessment of poets, 
especially by Muhammad Husayn Azad [q. v. ] in his 
Ab-i-haydl, which is itself essentially a large-scale 
tadhkira, written, however, in Urdu, whereas 
originally they were in Persian. Whilst Azad's 
criticisms have some substance, they are exaggerated. 
He also makes a number of ! 
tually erroneous, unless he h; 


c Ibs 

h is MIr's extraordinary arrangement, which is 
ure of the chronological and alphabetical. 
ibliography: The most recent of several edi- 
; of MIr's collected poetry is KulIiyydl-i-Mir, ed. 
iat Brelwl, Karachi-Lahore 1958, with a 100- 

l. Some, howev 

;r the . 

i, Lucknow 1941, which though 
less complete, is said to be more accurate. Sayyid 
c Abd Allah, Nakd-i-Mir, Lahore 1964, is a full study 
of the poet in 14 essays. Brelwl' s Shd c iri awr shdHri 
hi tankid, Karachi 1965, contains three essays on 
respectively the poet's ghazal (179-212), his thought 
(213-36) and his art (237-50). The longest and best 
account of the poet in English is in R. Russell and 
Khurshidul Islam, Three Mughal poets: Mir, Sauda, 
Mir Hasan, London 1969, 95-277. Farman 
Fatahpuri's DaryPi-'-ishk awt bahr al-mahabbat kd 
lakdbulimutdla c a, Lahore 1972, compares a mathnawi 
by Mir with a similar one by MushafT [q. v. ] with the 
full text of each. The following are more general 
works with useful sections on Mir: Ram Babu 
Saksena, A history oj Urdu literature, Allahabad 1927, 
70-80; Muhammad Sadiq, A history of Urdu literature, 
London etc., 1964, 94-101, generally hostile in 
tone; Ahmed Ali, The golden tradition, New York- 
London 1973, is a general account of Urdu poetry, 
with many poems in English translation (23-54, 
134-76). L.C. Randhir, Ghazal - the beauty eternal, 
Delhi 1982, is also useful, though little is said about 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, VII 


i Mir Kudra 

Mir (60-3, 146). All poetical extracts are given in 
the Devanagari script, Roman Urdu, and English 
translation. See further Abu '1-Layth Siddlkl, 
LakhnPu ka dabistdn-i-shaHri, Lahore 1955, 140-9. 
Muhammad Husayn Azad, Ab-i-haydl 9 Lahore 
19917, 203-31 (N.B. the various editions, or more 
correctly reprints, s 
tion); Kasim (HakI 
Allah Kasim) Maegmu^a-yi-naghz , Lahore 1933, 229- 
54. MIr's autobiography was published as Dhikr-i- 
Mir, ed. c Abd al-Hakk, Awrangabad 1928. His 
tadhkira, Nikat al-shu ( ard\ ed. Muhammad Hablb al- 
Rahman Khan ShirwanI, has been published with 
no date or place of publication. Finally, Sayyid 
c Abd Allah, Shu'ard'-yi- Urdu ke tadhkire awr tadhkira- 
" -ikafann, Lahore 1952, i 

the tadhkira 

o Mir 



(J.A. Haywood) 


n. iii. In the Persia 


MIRAB [see 

ma\ I 





Prophet's asc 

.), orig 

inally de 
to Hea 

ignates "a ladder' 
in particular, tl 

1. Inlslam 
mystical trad 


f the Ar 

ab world. 

The Kurgan 

LXXXI, 19-25, 

LIII, l-21)describ 

a vision in w 
Muhammad, a 

aich a 
nd LIII 

divine m 
12-18, t 

essenger appears 
eats of a second m 

sion of a similar kind. In both cases, the Prophet sees 
a heavenly figure approach him from the distance, but 
there is no suggestion that he himself was carried 
away to Heaven. However, it is otherwise with the 
experience alluded to in XVII, 1, "Glory be to Him 
who transported His servant by night (asrd bi- c abdihi 
layl"") from the Masdjid al-Haram to the Masdjid al- 


lich We hav 

inded with blessi 
e of our signs." For this versi 

which disappears from the moi 
detects an allusion to Muham 
inad's Ascension to Heaven. This is the moi 
interesting, as these traditions (al-Bukharl, Cair 
1278, ii, 185, Bib kdna 'l-nabiyyu tanamu ^aynuhu wa-. 
yanamu kalbuhu, no. 2; Muslim, Bulak, 1290, i, 59; a 
Tabarl, Tafsn' , xv, 3, cf. B. Schrieke, Die Himmelrei 
Muhammad's, in Isl. , vi [1915-16], 12, 14) retain als 

(A.A. Bevan, Mohammed's Ascension to Heaven, i 
Beihefte zur Zeitschr. fur die Alttestam Wissensch. , xxvii = 
Studien .. Julius Wellhausen.. gewidmet, Giessen 191' 
56; Schrieke, op. cit.). This explanation interprets th 
expression al-masdjid al-aksa, "the further place ( 
worship" in the sense of "Heaven" and, in fact, i 
the older tradition isrd^ is often used as synonymoi 
with mfradx (see Isl. , vi, 14). One would thus ' 

urnal a 

lion of tl 

Prophet to the heavenly spheres (Schrieke, 
ff.; J. Horovitz, Muhammeds Himmelfahrt, in Isl.. ix 
[ 1919 j, 161 ft'.), but a witness limited merely to an 
allusion to the adventure, without saying anything 
about the manner in which it developed. 

(2) The second explanation, the only one given 
in all the more modern commentaries, interprets al- 
masdjid al-aksa as "Jerusalem" and this for no very 
apparent reason. It seems to have been an Umayyad 
device intended to further the glorification of 
Jerusalem as against that of the holy territory (cf. 
Goldziher, Muh. Stud., ii, 55-6; Isl., vi, 13 ff), then 
ruled by c Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. Al-Tabarl seems to 


reject it. He does not mention it in his History and 
seems rather to adopt the first explanation (see 1st. , vi, 
2, 5, 6, 12, 14; al-Tabari, Annates, i, 1157 ff., a 
passage which appears to represent the historian's 
final verdict formed on full consideration of the 
evidence before him, cf. Bevan, op. cit. , 57). 

Explanations 1 and 2 concur in interpreting < abd in 
XVII, 1, by Muhammad, and this seems to be right 
(1st., vi, 13, n. 6). The i£ma< admitted both inter- 
pretations and, when the Umayyad version had 
arisen, harmonised the two by assigning to isra? the 
special sense of night journey tojerusalem. The 
Ascension, having lost its original meaning, was 
altered in date, being made to fall at a later period, as 
appears, in fact, to have been done previously by Ibn 
Ishak in the oldest extant biography of Muhammad 
(Bevan, op. at., 54). 

The story of the night journey to Jerusalem 
runs as follows: 

One night, as Muhammad was sleeping in the 
neighbourhood of the Ka c ba at Mecca (or in the house 
of Umm Hani 3 , 1st., vi, 11) he was awakened by the 
angel Gabriel who conducted him to a winged animal 
called Burak [q. v.], and with Muhammad mounted on 
this animal they journeyed together tojerusalem. On 
the way thither they encounter several good and 
several wicked powers (Mishkdt al-masablh , Dihll 1 268, 
521-2; al-Baghawi, Masdblh al-sunna, Cairo 1294, ii, 
179, with a harmonising interpolation) and visit 
Hebron and Bethlehem (al-NasaT, Sunan, Cairo 1312, 
i, 77-8; al-Nuwayri, ms. Warner 2a, p. 93, 11. 7-10). 
At Jerusalem, they meet Abraham, Moses and Jesus, 
of whom a description is given (e.g. al-Bukharl, Cairo 
1278, ii, 147). The sattit is performed, Muhammad 
acting as imam and thereby taking precedence of all 
the other prophets there assembled. This meeting with 
the prophets at Jerusalem resembles and may well 
have been modelled on the transfiguration of Jesus on 
Mount Tabor (Matt, xviii, 1; Mark ix, 1; Luke ix, 
28), cf. 1st. , vi, 15, and Goldziher, in RHR, xxxi, 308. 

(3) The third interpretation of XVII, 1, is 
based on XVII, 62, where ru > "vision" is explained 
as isra'. This implies that the night journey was not a 
real journey but a vision. Standing at the hidjr, 
Muhammad saw Jerusalem and described it to the 
unbelieving Kurayshites (al-Bukhari, ii, 221, iii, 102; 
Muslim, i, 62; al-Tabari, Tafslr, xv, 5, 1. 14 ff, etc.). 
The story is woven into a connected whole as follows: 
Muhammad journeys by night tojerusalem, returns 
and at Mecca describes his adventures; the Kuraysh 
disbelieve him and Muslims apostasise; Muhammad 
seeks to defend the truth of his story, but he has 
forgotten the particulars; whereupon God causes him 
actually to behold Jerusalem (see 1st., vi, 15-16). 

In the more modern and longer narratives, the 
story is further amplified (see e.g. A. Muller, Der 
Islam in Morgen- und Abendland, i, 86). The Prophet is 
said to have held 70,000 conversations with God, 
although the whole journey proceeded so quickly that, 
when he returned, his bed was still warm and the 
water cup which he had overthrown with his foot at 
his hurried departure, was not yet empty. By Muslim 
theologians the question has been discussed, whether 
the isra'' happened while Muhammad was asleep or 
awake and whether it was his spirit or his body which 
journeyed. The orthodox opinion is that the journey 
s performed by Muhammad with his body and 



13) ver 

decidedly supports this meaning for the followi 
reasons: (1) If the Prophet had not been carried away 
in a corporeal sense, the event would afford no proof 
of his divine mission and those who disbelieved the 

story could not be accused of infidelity. (2) It is stated 
in the Kur'an that God caused His servant to journey, 
not that He caused His servant's spirit to journey. (3) 
If the Prophet had been carried away in spirit only, 
the services of Burak would not have been required, 
since animals are used for carrying bodies not for car- 
rying spirits (Bevan, op. cit. , 60; Schrieke, op. cit. ,13; 
al-Tabari, al-Baydawi, and al-Baghawi, Tafsir, ad 
XVII, 1). Mystics and philosophers often favour an 
allegorical interpretation (Goldziher, Geschichte der 
Philosphie im Mittelalter, in Kultur der Gegenwart, i/5, 

The question of the p 


uched oi 

XL, 38, Fir c awn gives Hainan orders to build a palace 
so that he can reach the cords of Heaven and climb up 
to the god of Musa (cf. also XXVIII, 3). In LIII, 38, 
the calumniators are asked whether they had per- 
chance a ladder (sullam) so that they could hear the 
heavenly voice, and in VI, 35, the consequences are 
considered which the signs brought by the Prophet 
with the help of a ladder to Heaven might have on his 
hearers. The old poets also talk of ascending to 
Heaven by a ladder, as a means of escaping some- 
thing one wants to avoid (Zuhayr, Mu^allaka, 54; al- 
A'sha, no. XV, 32). 

Hadith gives further details of the Prophet's ascen- 
sion. Here the ascension is usually associated with the 
nocturnal journey to Jerusalem, so that the ascent to 
Heaven takes place from this sanctuary. We also have 
accounts preserved which make the ascension start 
from Mecca and make no mention of the journey to 
Jerusalem. In one of these, the ascension takes place 
immediately after the "purification of the heart" (see 
al-Bukharf, Salat, bab 1; Hadjdj_, bab 76; Manakib, bab 
42; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, iv, 207, v, 143; al- 
Tabari, Annates, i, 1157-8). In the last-mentioned 
passage we read: "When the Prophet had received his 
revelation and was sleeping at the Ka c ba, as the 
Kuraysh used to do, the angels Gabriel and Michael 
came to him and said: With regard to whom have we 
received the order? Whereupon they themselves 
answered: With regard to their lord. Thereupon they 
went away, but came back the next night, three of 
them. When they found him sleeping, they laid him 
on his back, opened his body, brought water from the 
Zamzam well and washed away all that they found 
within his body of doubt, idolatry, paganism and 
error. They then brought a golden vessel which was 
filled with wisdom and belief. Thereupon he was 
taken up to the lowest heaven." The other versions of 
the same story show many additions and variants; 
according to one, for example, Gabriel came to 
Muhammad through the roof of his house which 
opened to receive him; according to another, it was 
Gabriel alone who appeared to him and there are 
many similar variants. All these versions, however, 
put Muhammad's ascension at an early period and 
make it a kind of dedication of him as a Prophet, for 
which the purification of the heart had paved the way. 
Ethnographical parallels (Schrieke, op. cit., 2-4) show 
other instances of a purification being preliminary to 
an ascension. Similar stories are found in pagan 
Arabia (Horowitz, in 1st., ix, 171 ff.) and also in 
Christian legends (op. cit. , 170 ff.). Another story (Ibn 
Sa c d, i/1, 143) says that the ascension took place from 
Mecca although it does not associate it with "the 
purification of the heart" which it puts back to the 
childhood of the Prophet [see halima]. 

How did it come about, however, that this, 
obviously the earlier, tradition of Mecca as the start- 
ing point of the ascension, was ousted by the other 

which made it take place from Jerusalem? The 
localisation of the Kur^anic al-Masdjid al-Aksa in 
Jerusalem is by some connected with the efforts of 
c Abd al-Malik to raise Jerusalem to a place of special 
esteem in the eyes of believers (Schrieke, op. cit., 13; 
Horovitz, op. cit., 165 ff.; idem, The earliest biographies 
of the Prophet and their authors, in IC, ii [1928], 35 ff.), 
and in any case it cannot be proved that this iden- 
tification is older than the time of c Abd al-Malik. It 
might all the easier obtain currency as Jerusalem to 
the Christians was the starting point of Christ's ascen- 
sion, and from the 4th century Jesus's footprint had 
been shown to pilgrims in the Basilica of the Ascen- 
sion; and now, perhaps as early as the time of c Abd 
al-Malik, that of their Prophet was shown to Muslim 
pilgrims (Horovitz, Muhammeds Himmelfahrt, 167-8). 
The idea of the "heavenly Jerusalem" may have had 
some influence on the development of the isra^ 
legends; when Muhammad meets Ibrahim, Musa and 
c Isa in Jerusalem, the presence of these prophets in 
the earthly Jerusalem is not at once intelligible, but it 
loses any remarkable features if Bayt al-Makdis (Ibn 
Hisham, 267) from the first meant the "Heavenly 
Jerusalem" (Horovitz, op. cit., 168, another explana- 
tion, see above). Perhaps also the phrase alladht 
barakna hawlahu was taken to support the reference to 
Jerusalem; when these words occur elsewhere in the 
Kur'an they refer to sites in the holy land (H. Lam- 
mens, Les sancluaires preislamites dans I 'Arabic occidentale, 
in MFOB, xi [1926], 72). While the stories quoted 
above only say that Gabriel took the Prophet up to the 
heights of Heaven, but are silent as to how, others add 
that a ladder (mi c radf) was used for the ascent (see Ibn 
Hisham, 268; al-Tabari, Tafstr, xv, 10; Ibn Sa c d, i/1, 
143); this ladder was of splendid appearance; it is the 
one to which the dying turn their eyes and with the 
help of which the souls of men ascend to Heaven. The 
ladder is probably identical with Jacob's ladder in 
Genesis, xxviii, 12; the Ethiopic Book of Jubilees, 
xxvii, 21, calls this ma'dreg, and sura LXX, 3,4, calls 
God Dhu 'l-Ma'aridf "to whom the angels and the 
spirit ascend" (ta c rudf). According to XXXII, 4, the 
amr rises to God; according to LVII, 4, and XXXIV, 
2, God knows "what descends from Heaven and what 
ascends to it", and in XLIII, 32, there is a reference 
to steps (ma c aridf) in the houses of men. The term was 
already known, and is presumably taken from 
Ethiopic (Horovitz, op. cit. , 174 ff.). Among the Man- 
daeans, also, the ladder (sumbilta) is the means of 
ascending to Heaven {Ginza, tr. M. Lidzbarski, 49, 
208, 490), and there are parallels to the ladder of the 
dead in the mysteries of Mithras (see Tor Andrae, Die 
Person Mohammeds, 45; Wetter, Phos, 114, n. 2); the 
Manichaean '■amud al-sabh (Fthrist, 335, 10), by means 
of which the dead man is taken to the sphere of the 
moon is a more distant parallel (Bevan, op. at., 59). 

Just as the mi'-radf is associated with the ascension, 
so al-Burak is originally connected with the night 
journey to Jerusalem; it found its way, however, at an 
early date into the legend of the ascension (see al- 
Bukhari, Manakib, bib 42; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad. 
iv, 207; v, 387; al-Tabari, Tajsir, xv, 12). 

At the gate of each of the seven heavens through 
which he wanders with the Prophet, Gabriel is asked 
for his own name and that of his companion (al- 
Bukhari, Salat, bib 1; al-Tabari, Tafstr, xv, 4; idem, 
Annates, i, 1157). After he gives these, he is next asked 
if Muhammad has already been sent as a prophet (a- 
wa-kad buHtha ilayhi, correction for the original a-wa- 
kad buHtha found in al-Tabari, Annates, i, 1158; see 
Snouck Hurgronje, in 1st., vi, 5, n. 4); this also 
indicates that the ascension originally belonged to the 

period immediately after his call (Schrieke, op. cit. , 6). 
In each heaven they meet one of the earlier 
messengers of God, usually Adam in the first, Yahya 
and c Isa in the second, Yusuf in the third, Idris in the 
fourth, Harun in the fifth, Musa in the sixth and 
Ibrahim in the seventh heaven; there are also varia- 
tions and Adam appears as judge over the spirits of 
the dead (Andrae, 44-5; Schrieke, 17; Ahmad b. Han- 
bal, Musnad, v, 143; cf. Apoc. Mosis, 37). Of the other 
messengers of God we are only told — in addition to 
being given a description of their personal 
appearance — that they greeted Muhammad; Musa is 
an exception, who expressly says that Muhammad is 
higher in the esteem of God than himself and that the 
number of his followers surpasses his own (al-Tabari, 
Tafstr, xv, 11). On another occasion, Muhammad 
engages in a conversation with Musa after God had 
imposed upon him 50 salats a day as obligatory 
prayers for the faithful. On Musa's advice, Muham- 
mad asks several times for an alleviation, and each 
time God grants it; but when Musa says 5 salats are 
still too many, the Prophet refuses to ask for less (on 
Genesis, xviii, 23 ff., as the prototype of this episode; 
cf. Goldziher, Muh. Studien, i, 36; Schrieke, 19; 
Andrae, 82). According to some versions, Musa 
dwells in the seventh heaven and the conversation 
seems to be more natural there. To the ascension 
belong the visits to Paradise and to Hell. Paradise, 
according to others in the first; in some it is not men- 
tioned at all. The statements about its rivers are con- 
tradictory (Schrieke, 19; cf. kawthar), the sidrat al- 
muntahd is usually placed in the seventh heaven 
(Bevan, 59; Schrieke, 18). In one description, Hell is 
put below the first heaven (Ibn Hisham, 269; al- 
Tabarl, Tajsir, iv, 10). According to another, the 
place of punishment of the damned is on the way 
between Heaven and earth, and Muhammad sees it 
on his journey to the Bayt al-Makdis (al-Tabari, xv, 
101, also Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, i, 257; ii, 353; 
iii, 120, 182, 224, 231, 239). On the punishment in 
Hell, cf. Schrieke, 17; Andrae, 44; Horovitz, 173; 
Reitzenstein, Das mandaische Buch der Grbsse, 81 ff.; 
Lidzbarski, Johannisbuch, 98 ff.; Ginza, 183. 

That Muhammad appeared before God's throne in 
the seventh heaven and that the conversation about 
the obligatory prayers took place there, is already 
recorded in the oldest stories (see above), but only 
rarely do they extend the conversation between God 
and the Prophet to other subjects (al-Tabari, Tafstr, 
xxvii, 26; Musnad, iv, 66, as a dream; Andrae, 70). 
But objection was raised to the assertion that Muham- 
mad on this occasion saw God face-to-face (Andrae, 
71 ff), and the question was also raised at an early 
date whether the ascension was a dream or a reality, 
whether only the soul of the Prophet was carried up or 
also his body (L. Caetani, Annali, Intr. § 320; Andrae, 
72; Bevan, 60; Schrieke, 13, n. 1). 

The hadlth contains, besides these, other details 
which Asm (Escatologia, Madrid 1919, 7-52; idem, 
Dante y el Islam, Madrid 1927, 25-71) discussed. In 
developing the story of the Prophet's ascension, 
Muslim writers have used models afforded them by 
the Jewish and Christian Apocalypses. A few features 
may also come from the Zoroastrians from the Arda 
Viraf; cf. the works already mentioned by Andrae, 
Bevan, Schrieke, Horovitz and W. Bousset, in ARW, 
iv, 136-69. 

Later accounts (see section 2 below). 

The ascension of the Prophet later served as a 
model for the description of the journey of the soul of 
the deceased to the throne of the divine judge (Asm, 
Escatologia, 59-60); for the Sufis, however, it is a sym- 

bol of the rise of the soul from the bonds of sensuality 
to the heights of mystic knowledge. Ibn al- c ArabI thus 
expounds it in his work Kitdb al-Isra? ila makdm al-asra 
(Asm, 61 ff.; Andrae, 81-2), and in his Futuhdt, ii, 
356-75, he makes a believer and a philosopher make 
the journey together but the philosopher only reaches 
the seventh heaven, while no secret remains hidden 
from the pious Muslim (Asm, 63 ff.). Abu 'l-'Ala 5 al- 
Ma'arrl's Risalai al-Ghufran is a parody on the tradi- 
tional accounts of the m/ c ™£(Asin, 71 ff.). Asm in his 
two books quoted has dealt with the knowledge of 
Muslim legends of the ascension posssessed by the 
Christian Middle Ages and their influence on Dante. 
In a separate work {La escalologia musulmana en la divina 
comedia, Madrid 1924), he has collected and discussed 
the literature produced by his Escalologia down to 
1923; on later works, see M. Rodinson, Dank el 
I'Islam..., in RHR, lxxxix (1951), 203-35. 

According to Ibn Sa c d, idl, 147, the ura' took place 
on 17 Rab? I, the ascension on 17 Ramadan. For cen- 
turies, however, the night before 27 Radjab— a date 
also significant in the history of Mecca (see C. Snouck 
Hurgronje, Mekka, ii, 71)— has been regarded by the 
pious as the Laylal al-Mi^rddj, and the eve is, like the 
Mawlid al-Nabi, devoted to reading the legend of the 
feast (see al- c AbdarI, Madkhal, i, 143 ff.; G.A. 
Herklots, Qanoon-e Islam 2 , 165; E.W. Lane, Manners 
and customs, London 1896, 474-6; Snouck Hurgronje, 
The Achehnese, i, 219; Asm, Escalologia, 97). 

Bibliography: Given in the article. See also R. 
Hartmann, in Bibliothek-Warburg, Vortrdge 1928- 
1929, Leipzig 1930, 42-65; Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar, 
Muhammad the Holy Prophet, Lahore 1967, ch. viii; 
Annemarie Schimmel, Mystical dimensions of Islam, 
Chapel Hill, N.C. 1975, 219-21; eadem, And 
Muhammad is His Messenger, Chapel Hill, N.C. 
1985, 159-75. (B. Schrieke-[J. Horovitz]) 

2. In Arabic literature. 

apocalyptic phenomenon has undergone a develop- 
ment which it is not always convenient to confine 
within the limits of theological analysis. The literature 
of the mi'-radi must be understood as meaning all the 
accounts by known or unknown authors devoted to 
Muhammad's ascension. 

Unlike the idea of the isra' , recorded as being in a 
horizontal plane, the idea of the exaltation of a non- 
angelic being is not attested in the Kur'an. Thus it 
was at a later date that the miracle came to be 
recounted. We are not in a position to establish the 
chronology of this process. Study of the portrayals of 
the nocturnal journey remains to be done. Analysis of 
hadiths, disentangled from theological refutation, 
could provide an interesting contribution to the study 
of the imaginary in Islam. 

Some accounts of the mi c rddj_ are by known authors, 
but the most widely circulated, attributed to the Imam 
Ibn c Abbas, cousin of the Prophet, has often been 
regarded as apocryphal. It remains nevertheless a 
decisive text. Ibn c Abbas, at once a historical and a 
mythical personality, has indeed become "the inter- 
preter of the community, the prototype of its 
expounder, since he is assigned to the origins of the 
group, at the moment of its foundation" (CI. Gilliot, 
Portrait "mythique" d'Ibn 'Abbas, in Arabica, xxxii 
[1985], 127-84). 

This account must be viewed as "a text which com- 
bines an openness to the depictions of the imagination 
with a respect for the basic provisions of the Law" 
(J.E. Bencheikh, Le voyage nocturne de Mahomet, Paris 

s. The following 

The other authors are scholars v 
literature of the Mi'rddj_, probably sc 
to develop embarrassing efflorescem 
list enables us to verify this: 

— al-Kushayri, Abu '1-Kasim c Abd al-Karlm, d. 
465/1073 [q.v.], whose Kitdb al-Mi'rddj. was published 
in 1964. He was actually an Ash'arf Shafi c T theologian 
and author of the famous Risdla. 

— al-Bakri, Abu '1-Hasan Ahmad b. c Abd Allah 
[q.v.], a highly controversial personality who appears 
to have lived in the last half of the 7th/13th century. 
It was allegedly forbidden to read his Life of the Prophet. 
The manuscript of his Kitdb Kissat al-mi'radj. offers a 
version very close to that of Ibn c Abbas. 

— al-Ghavtl. Muhammad b. Ahmad b. c Ali, d. 
984/1576, Shafi'I traditionist, author of al-Ibtihddf bi 
'l-kaldm 'aid 'l-isrd> wa 'l-mi'radj_, printed in 1970. 

— al-BarzandjI, Shafi'T mufti of Medina and 
preacher, author of a Kissat al-Mi'rddj_. His grandson, 
Dja c far b. Isma c Il, d. 1317/1899), jurisconsult and 
specialist in the Sira of the Prophet, was also Shafi'I 
mufti in Medina; he is the author of Tddial-Ibtihadj 'aid 
'l-nur al-wahhddi fi 'l-isrd* wa 'l-mi'rddi, printed in 
Cairo in 1314 with the Kissat al-mihadj. of his grand- 
father in the margin. Al-Barzandji's version differs 
perceptibly from that of Ibn c Abbas both in its very 
mannered language and in the structure of the 
account. We are dealing here with a very dry, spare 
version, which is clearly that of a scholar anxious to 
contain imagination within acceptable bounds. 

— We cannot supply dates for Muhammad Zalam al- 
Babili al-Halabl, author of al-Sirddj_ al-wahhddi ft laylat 
al-isra^ wa-kissat al-mi'rddi, printed at an unspecified 
date in Aleppo, which its author holds to be better 
than any version that had ever been made before. He 
states that, out of a concern to lighten the text, he 
omitted every isndd. He adds nevertheless that he 
composed it by relying on "works held in esteem and 
famous versions of the mi'-radi ' ■ According to all the 
evidence, it is in fact a late version which retains the 
essentials of Ibn 'Abbas, enriching them with details. 
Furthermore, we can easily understand why the 
author neglects to supply his references: he is handling 

expresses the imaginary vision of the group and stret- 
ches its credibility. 

The literature of the mi'rddi develops into an 
amalgamation of three miraculous accounts concern- 
ing the Prophet: 

(a) That of his purification by the angels, who open 
his chest and cleanse his heart of all sin. It was at a late 
date that this act was sometimes regarded as a kind of 
preparation for the ascension. The idealisation of his 
personality was carried to its limit. Only al- 
Barzandji's version mentions the opening of his chest. 
The other authors confine themselves to an ablution. 

(b) That of the nocturnal journey from Mecca to 
Jerusalem on al-Burak [q.v.]. This account was sub- 
jected to a process of amplification before being 
attached to the mi'rddi, although different dates were 
cited for the two events. In some accounts, Muham- 
mad actually meets on his journey some of those being 
punished in Hell (cf. al-Tabari's commentary on sura 

(c) Finally, that of the ascension properly so-called 
which includes the visit to the seven heavens, with a 
glimpse of Hell, the arrival at the Throne, the 
dialogue with God, the visit to Paradise and the return 

A narrative organisation was progressively estab- 
lished according to four essential sequences: an initial 
miraculous union, an initiatory raising to Heaven, a 

glorifying appearance before God and a return to 
mankind. Elucidating the series of sequences could be 
of help in the search for an underlying plan providing 
the background for the imagination of the text. It hap- 
pens that some works of a varied nature depict the 
same subjects as the mi'rdgx' account; those depictions 
are concerned with the constitution of the heavens and 
the fringes of Hell, description of the Throne, the 
dwellings in Paradise and angelology. 

These are to be found in three categories of works: 

(a) The Kisas al-anbiya? [<?.»•] or legends of the pro- 
phets, the first of which are devoted to the origin of the 

(b) General histories, whose first chapters contain 
numerous elements of cosmology and cosmogony. A 

themes by historians and mi'raqx accounts would be 
very significant. 

(c) The resurrection literature, which brings together 
the texts devoted to the kiyama [q.u.]. This literature of 
"news purveying" consists of edifying opuscula 
which make no precise reference to canonical texts 
and provide an account of what happens to the 
believer from the time of his death until his 
appearance before God. We find here descriptions of 
the angels, Paradise and Hell. Some descriptive and 
narrative elements, independent of one another in 
their origin, are joined together. The Prophet himself 
is included in this universal destiny and, awakened 
from the rest of death, "he mounts al-Burak a second 
time to head for the Rock at Jerusalem and finally 
appear before the Lord" (Bencheikh, op. cit.). 

The accounts of the mi'raqx and kiyama are clearly 
related. The same working of the imagination, the 
same process for setting the portrayals, led to the pro- 
One should mention here besides that the frontiers 
of writing have not prevented the migration of 
legends. The Kitab c Adja>ib al-makhtukat of al-Kazwinl 
[q.o. ] devotes a long section to angelology; the story of 
Hasib Karfm al-Dtn in the Thousand and one nights con- 
tains the cosmogonic account of Bulukiyya possibly 
borrowed from al-Tha c labi's Kisas al-anbiyi\ We are 
dealing here with what we should call preconstituted 
bodies of writings regarding Heaven, Hell, Paradise, 
the Throne and angels. Each of these bocfies of 
writings has been given an independent setting follow- 
ing a long process of elaboration during which all 
kinds of pre-Islamic and Islamic themes have been 
gathered together. Only detailed analysis of this pro- 
cess will allow us to establish a reliable chronology for 

One should note in addition that we cannot totally 
isolate the mi'rddx accounts from the great visionary 
texts of Ibn c Arabi, Ibn Sina and al-Suhrawardi 
[?.»».]. The remarkable Kitab al-Tawahhum, if it is the 
work of a mystic, al-Muhasibi, preserves just as many 
of these themes as are connected with the literature 
with which we are concerned (French tr. Roman, 
Paris 1978). 

But one must realise that the imaginary aspect of 
the mi'rddx is also nourished by the pronouncements of 
speech. The kass [q.v.] or preacher is to be found at the 
heart of religious observance. "With him we leave 
learned discourse and mystical meditation to follow 
the dialogue between a desire and a function: the 
desire of the believer who needs to believe, the func- 
tion of the one who gives him something to believe 
and undertakes to supply him with imaginative depic- 
tions in order to do this" (Bencheikh, op. cit, 

The oral legend of the mi'-radx has not been col- 

lected. The narrative structure laid down in the texts 
considered to be canonical has taken over depictions 
of diverse origin. The texts have been given an 
iconography to respond to the need of their listeners 
for marvels. This need the theologians regard with 
suspicion. The inventors of fabulous tales were pur- 
sued and treated severely by Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al- 
Djawzi, al-Ghazali and al-Suyuti. The establishment 
of collections of apocryphal hadtths for the denuncia- 
tion of forgeries, if it is informative on the orthodoxy 
of their thought, is just as helpful in interpreting the 
ramblings of the imagination. 

In fact, the same questions posed by the theologians 
on the subject of the mi'-radx, have determined the 
direction of the flow of the imagination. There has 
been lively argument concerning the idea which it was 
necessary to have of the ascension. We must also 
review the possible interpretations of this miraculous 

(a) The ascension took place in spirit; it is a question 
of a vision that occurred during the Prophet's sleep. 
In a sense it was Heaven that visited Muhammad. It 
was an illumination, and the physical person was not 
concerned: the mi'rddx annuls the human condition 
and registers itself in an unhinging of the intellect. 
The soul, purified, traverses Heaven as far as God in 
a trajectory of which the traces remain only in the Pro- 
phetic witness. The outburst of faith on the part of the 
Believer will repeat the movement. 

(b) The isrp was really performed by Muhammad 
while awake, but the ascension took place only in the 
spirit. This artificial distinction is useful: it bears 
witness to a process of linking the isra\ at first 
independent, with the mi'radx (cf. H. Birkeland, The 
legend of the opening of Muhammad's breast, Oslo 1955). 

(c) The ascension was really effected, body and soul, 
by a Prophet who was in a full state of consciousness. 
This interpretation lays the foundations of the 
miracle, which becomes a theological argument. 

In this way there becomes authenticated a will- 
ingness to attribute to the Prophet a dimension which 
goes beyond his historicity: progressively, the opening 
of the breast at the end of the purification, the isra* 
and the mi'rddx constitute a unique account which 
offers the advantage of crossing important zones of the 
religious imagination. 

This interpretation de-spiritualises the ascension, 

Whilst refusing to see in it an internal impetus, a 
wandering of the spirit, it affords free range to 
imaginative portrayals. The account gives formal 
licence to imagine the unthinkable. Revelation 
triumphs out of ecstasy. The brilliant but solitary 
illumination of an individual is abandoned for the 
benefit of the communal initiation of a prophet. The 
latter is charged to inform his people of the answers 
that, in the course of his journey, he is entrusted to 

From that time on, the difference can be seen 
between Kur'anic utterance reduced to a mention and 
the speech of "literature" charged with illustrating 
the former. A modern application of this splitting of 
writings is attested; in Radjab 1387/October 1967 
Egyptian State Television broadcast a film on the isrip 
and mi'-radx under the responsibility of the al-Azhar 
authorities. The process of image production is 
allowed, but controlled. 

The literature of the mi'rddx is then embodied in an 
act of adoration. For one who takes neither the path 
of thought nor that of spirituality, there remains the 
portrayal, at the risk of blasphemy. Behind Muham- 
mad, the only one authorised to travel to the forbid- 

den space, imagination is set free. A whole com- 
munity accompanies its prophet on his initiatory 
journey. Thus the act of faith is progressively estab- 
lished in an account destined to arouse visions. The 
image here is effective; it revives confidence and pro- 
vokes fear. In this way the delights of Paradise 
materialise and the tortures of Hell are displayed to 
view at the cost, furthermore, of a decisive anticipa- 
tion of theology, since God will only deliver His 
sentences on the Day of the Last Judgment. 

Here appear the two essential functions of the 
mi'-radl literature: it verifies in advance divine justice, 
and it responds to a deep-seated need for the 
marvellous. The image goes beyond efficacy in order 
to touch on the aesthetic. Happiness lies not only in 
the distant reward of virtue, it also finds its source in 
the spectacle offered. The text is adorned with 
illuminations: from al-Burak to the Throne of God, 
from the seven heavens to the sojourn in Paradise, 
then to Hell; the marvellous spans the space that 
separates thought from desire. 

But it asserts its humanity and does not profane the 
sacred. In addition, imaginative use is made of the 
real. The topography of the places uses language with- 
out any surprises: we climb to Heaven with a ladder, 
we skirt the walls, we pass through doors: here moun- 
tains, rivers, seas, gardens are lost to view. "The 
highest place is just a throne, a common attribute of 
sovereignty, men's destinies are written with a pen, 
an ordinary instrument for writing. Gold, silver, 
pearls, gems abound in our markets, darkness, 
smoke, ice have their place in our environment" 
(Bencheikh, op. cit.). 

It was probably difficult to represent the 
unimaginable without profaning it. Only the obliga- 
tion of reserve ensured the survival of the myth. The 
encounter with the Creator shows us how blasphemy 
was avoided; all the dialogue between God and 
Muhammad is made up of the last verses of Surat al- 
Bakara, put alternately into the mouths of the two 
interlocutors. Furthermore, this is not the only way of 
using verses or hadtths which are often solicited. The 
text then becomes a commentary full of their imagery 
and is legitimised. It is woven into an irrefutable 
writing and takes on the authenticity of a sacred 
iconography. For the listener, the mi'-rddi celebrates 
the prophetic mission and offers the account of an 
apocalypse populated with Kur'anic resonances. 

Called to appear before God, the Prophet receives 
along his way the homage due to the last of the 
Messengers. Islam relies on and celebrates at the same 
time its primacy. It lays hold of the future and recon- 
quers time past; Muhammad passes through the 
heavens accompanied by all the great witnesses of the 
universal faith. 

The ritual of adoration is then written down in an 
outburst of beauty! The heavens are successively of 
smoke, copper, silver, corindum and pearl. The tra- 
jectory of the symbol accompanies the ascension 
journey; the beauty of the spectacle declares the prox- 
imity of God. Each year millions of Muslims devote 
themselves to the spectacle of their faith. 

Finally, how can we forget that the mi'-rddj. has 
entered into universal literature, thanks to the Book of 
Mahomet's Ladder. This translation in Latin of a text in 
Castilian, itself translated from Arabic, had indeed 
become famous, thanks to the furious polemic to 
which it has given rise; and indeed, Dante was 
actually able to be inspired by it for his Divine Comedy. 
Bibliography: 1. Mi c rdax authors: Babili, al- 

Sirdd± al-wahhddxfi laylat al-isra? wa-kissat al-mi'-radl, 

ms. B.N. Paris, cf. G. Vajda, Index general des 

! arabes musulmans de la B.N. de Paris, no. 
1931, fols. 70-91; BarzandjI, al-Siradj. al-wahhadj., 
Tunis n.d., Cairo 1973; Qhayti, fCissat al-isra' wa 7- 
mi c rdax, Cairo 1970, abridged version in ms. in the 
B.N., Paris, see Vajda, Index, no. 1986; Ibn 
c Abbas, al-Isrd* wa 'l-mi c rddj_, numerous editions 
n.d. Cairo, Tunis, Beirut, Sudan, etc.; Mi c rddjr 
ndma, from the Uyghur ms. of the B.N. Paris, 
French tr. and annotation by A. Pavet de 
Courteille, Paris 1882, PENLOV, 2nd series, vol. 
vi; Kushayrl, Kitab al-Mi<ra&, ed. C A1I Hasan c Abd 
al-Kadir, Cairo 1964. Apocryphal collections of 
hadtths: Ibn al-Djawzi, Kitab al-Mawdu'at, Cairo 
n.d., 3 vols.; SuyutI, al-La>dlt al-masnu'-a fi 'l-ahddlth 
al-mawsuV, Beirut 1981, 2 vols. 

2. Kisasal-anbiyd 1 authors. Djaza>irf, al-Nur 
al-mubln fi Kisas al-anbiyd 1 wa 'l-mursalin, Beirut 
1978; Ibn Kathir, kisas al-anbiyd*, ed. Ahmad c Ata 3 , 
Beirut 1982; Ibn Wathlma, Bad* al-khalk wa-kisas al- 
anbiyd' (the 2nd part of this work was published in 
R.G. Khoury, Les le'gendes prophetiques dans I'Islam 
depuis le I" jusqu'au IIP siecle de I'Hegire, Wiesbaden 
1978; Ibn Kathir, Kisas al-anbiya\ ed. Ahmad c Ata', 
Leiden 1922-3, Eng. tr. W.M. Thackeston, Boston 
1978; Tha c labl, Kisas al-anbiyd\ called <-AraHs al- 
madjalis, Beirut n.d.; Mansur al-Yan 

3. Lit. 

n.d.; La Perl, 

'-nutakd', Bein 

of the 

l- c Ala 5 , following Sin al- c a 


r of Ghazah. introd., Arabic text and 
French tr. J. Gautier, Part i, Leipzig 1877; idem, 
Ihyd' '■ulum al-din, Beirut n.d., iv, last book; Ibn 
Makhluf, al-'-Ulim al-fdkhirafi 'l-nazar fi umur al-ddr 
al-dkhira, Cairo n.d.; Ibn Kayyim al-Djawziyya, 
Had! 'l-arwdh ild bildd al-afrdh, Cairo n.d.; idem, 
Miftdh ddr al-sa c dda wa-manshur wildyat al-Hlm wa 7- 
irdda, Beirut and Alexandria n.d.; idem, Zdd al- 
tna'-dd fi khayr hudd 'l-ibdd, Cairo n.d.; Ibn Radjab, 
Ahwdl al-kubur, Cairo n.d.; c Abd al-Rahlm b. 
Ahmad al-Kadl, DakdHk al-akhbdr fi dhikr al-djanna 
wa 'l-ndr, Cairo 1955 and Tunis n.d. (with, in the 
margin, Kitab al-Durar al-hisanfi '1-baHh wa-naHm al- 
djandn attributed to SuyutI without any further 
evidence, but possibly by the same author); Kur- 
tubi, al-Tadhkirafi ahwdl al-mawtd wa-umur al-dkhira, 
Cairo n.d. 

4. Useful works for the study of the m! c r<2<£: 
al-Ani, The early representations of the Prophet Muham- 
mad with special reference to the Mfraj scenes, Ph.D. 
thesis, Edinburgh University, 470 pp., 2 vols., 
unpublished, 1979; H. Birkeland, The legend of the 
opening of Muhammad's breast, Oslo 1955; V. 
Chauvin, Bibliographie des ouvrages arabes ou relatifs aux 
Arabes, Paris 1892-1913, xi, 206-8, with references 
to the works of Blochet, Perron, etc.; J. Chelhod, 
Les structures du sacre chez les Arabes, Paris 1965; 
Arkoun, Le Goff, Fahd and Rodinson, in L'etrange 
et le merveilleux dan I'Islam medieval, colloquium held 
in March 1974, Paris 1978; M. Eliade, Histoire des 
croyances et des idees religieuses, iii, Paris 1983, bibl. 
312-18, without mention of Arab authors; S. El- 
Saleh, La vie future selon le Coran, Paris 1971; T. 
Fahd, La naissance du monde selon I'Islam, in La 
naissance du monde, coll. Sources orientales, i, 1959, 
237-79; M. Gaudefroy-Demombynes, Mahomet, 
2nd revised ed., Paris 1969, 92-7; W. Irving, Vie de 
Mahomet, Fr. tr. from English by H. Georges, Paris 
1865, ch. xii, 1 13-26; Fahd, Anges, demons et djinns en 
Islam, in Genies, anges et demons, coll. Sources orien- 
tales, Paris 1971, 155-214; J. MacDonald, Islamic 

eschatology, in Islamic Studies, iii (1964), 285-308, 
485-519, iv, 1965, 55-102, 137-79, v, 1966, 129-97, 
331-83; M. Rodinson, Mahomet*, Paris 1968; idem, 

ccxxix (Jan. -March 1963), 169-220; J. Vernet, La 
cultura hispano-arabe, Barcelona 1978, Fr. tr. Paris 
1985; A. Miquel, La geographic humaine du monde 
musulman jusqu'au milieu du XI' si'ecle, Paris-The 
Hague 1973-80; v. On the Book oj the Ladder and the 
Divine Comedy, see M. Asm Palacios, La escatologia 
musulmana en la Divina Comedia, Madrid 1919, 3rd 
ed., 1961, followed by Historica y critica de una 
polemica which dates from 1924; G. Levi Delia Vida, 
Nuove luce suite fonti islamkhe delta Divina Commedia, in 
And, xiv (1949), 377-407; E. Cerulli, II "libro delta 
scata "eta questione delle fonti arabo-spagnole della Divina 
Commedia, Vatican City 1949; idem, Nuove recerche 
sul "Libro della scata" e la conoscenza del I' Is km in 
occidente, Vatican 1972; A. Meddeb, Le palimpseste du 
bilingue Ibn c Arabi et Dante, in Du bilinguisme, Paris 
1985, 125-44; J. Munoz Sendino, La Escala de 
Mahoma, Madrid 1949; a review of these works by 
M. Rodinson, Dante et I' Islam d'apres des travaux 
re'cents, in RHR, cxxxix (Jan.-March 1951), 203-35, 
with discussion of the problems raised. The follow- 
ing appeared subsequently: c Abd al-Mun c im 
Djabr, Rifilal al-ruh bayna Ibn Slna wa-Danti, Cairo 
1977; S. Fadl, TaHhir al-thakdfa al-islamiyya ft 7- 
kUmidiya al-ilahiyya li-Danti, Cairo 1980 (which con- 
tains a retranslation into Arabic made from Munoz 
Sendino's Spanish abridgement, and the analysis of 
several works in Arabic dealing partially with the 
question); S. Pelosi, Dante e la cultura islamica, ana- 
logic tra la ' 'Commedia " e il ' 'Libro della scala ' ', Tripoli 
1965; L. Portier, La question des sources islamiques de 
la "Divine Comedie" , in Cahiers Algenens de Litterature 
comparee, no. 1 (1966); idem, Le theme du coq sauvage 
et son aboutissement a Leopardi, in ibid. , no. 2 (1967), 
102-20; P. Munderli, Etudes sur le "Lime de VEschiele 
de Mahomet", prole'gomines a une nouvel/e edition de la 
version francaise d'une traduction alphonsine, Winterthur 
1965. Interesting information appears in M.T. 
d'Alverny, Les pe'regrii 



la fin , 

i XI I.e. 

nale et III 

\u Moyen 

d g e, xv-xvii (1940-2), 239-99, with the Latin t 
a ms. in the B.N., Paris; the Arabic texts analysed 
are unfortunately not always given in the text, but 
in translations which are often very old. 

(j.E. Benches) 
The Editors regret that they have failed to provide 
for a section on the mi'radj in Persian literature. 
Whilst they anticipate that they will be able to repair 
this omission, they would refer the reader to the arti- 
cle by A.M. Piemontese, Una versione persana della storia 
del "Mi'rag", in OM lx/1-6 (1980), 225-43, which 
offers a translation of a passage of the Shi*" 
tary of sura xvii by Abu '1-Futuh al-Ra 

3. Mi'; 



The celebration of the mi'radj has here given rise to 
. extensive popular literature. Among the Shafi c i 
mmunities, from Egypt down to the East African 
astlands, the most widely-used text is al-BarzandjT's 

:r editi. 


mi'radj, available in Haji Mohamed's bookshop in 
Mombasa together with the same author's Maw/id 
[see mawlid. 2. In East Africa]. 

In Swahili, there are two translations in prose and 
is; for the oldest kri 

still be sung, see 
Leiden 1971, 227- 
75; the same text but with long comments and notes, 
is given by idem, Miiraji, the Swahili legend of 
Mohammed's Ascension, in Swahili, Jnal. of the Inst, for 
Swahili Research (Dar es Salaam), xxxvi (1966), 105- 
56. A different poem, written before 1922, is given by 
idem, Utenzi wa miiraji by Mohamed Jambeini, in Afrika 
und Uebersee, xlviii (1966), 241-74, and another by 
Yusuf Ulenge (perhaps from an older oral text) is 
printed in Swahili, xxxviii (1968), with the title Utenzi 
wa Miraji. 

A much longer poem, published by E. Dammann 
in his Dichtungen in der Lamu Mundart des Suaheli, Ham- 
burg 1940, 1-72, was written down for Dammann by 
the poet Muhammad b. Abubakari Kijuma, who was 
probably also its author; see Muhammad b. Ibrahim 
Abou Egl, Life and works of Muhammad Kijuma, Ph.D. 
thesis, London Univ., 1984, unpubl. 

In the mosques of East Africa, the laylat al-mi'radj 
is celebrated after the night worship by singing these 
hymns, after which the imam explains its significance 
to the congregation. 

In Hausaland (Northern Nigeria), poetic versions 
of the mi'radj narrative were first discovered by M. 
Hiskett, see his A history of Hausa Islamic verse, London 
1975, 48-62. Here the theme of the mi'radj is part of 
the mu'djizat literature, poems written by scholars in 
praise of Muhammad which can be sung or read. 
These are called madahu, from madh "praise". They 
are very popular and often recited during Ramadan 
when the people are in a receptive mood. A detailed 
description can be found in the thesis of Abdullahi 
Bayaro Yahya, The Hausa verse category of Madahu, with 
special reference to theme, style and the background of Islamic 
■ ■ lief Univ. of Sokoto, "" 



s, and 

the place of the mi'-radj as one of the themes of madahu 
is comprehensively discussed. 

In Ghana, the mi'-radj theme forms part of the 
Mawlid (as it does in East Africa) and is celebrated in 
the north of the country, in Kumasi and along the 

In the Gambia, the theme of the mi'radj appears to 
have penetrated into the pre-Islamic Mandinka epic 
of Sunjata. In G. Innes' edition (Sunjata, London 
1974, 156-7, 1. 287), the diviner Siise, before answer- 
ing the king's questic 

"for fort) 

lays 1 

the u 

1 for 

seven layers of the sky." This is clearly ta 
mi'radj, in which Muhammad himself claims the 
same; see Knappert, Traditional Swahili poetry, Leiden 
1967, 152. 

In Peul or Fulani [see fulbe], there is a long see- 
by J. Haafkens in his Chants musulmans en Peul, Leiden 
1983, 193-203. The long poem Busarau (from Arabic 
bushard^, pi. of bashir, "bringers of good tidings", 
ibid. , 144-335), was heard sung and recorded from 
manuscripts by Haafkens in northern Cameroon, 

Bibliography: Given in the article. 

0. Knappert) 
4. Mi'radj. literature in Indonesia. 
In West Java the celebration of the mi'rdaj is still 
very popular; it takes place in the mosque, in the 
home or in the langgar, the little prayer-cabin near the 
house. On the eve of 27 Radjab, or in some places 
even on the preceding evening, people come together 
in families, or invite friends, usually the men and the 

smoke is disliked by the angels. The proceedings 
begin after the salat al-maghrib and are concluded by a 
selataman, a festive meal, around midnight, after the 
salat al-isha?. "Those who know stories" will tell them, 
about the life of Muhammad and his night journey. 
Customarily, one who is qualified reads from al-Zahr 
al-bdsim ft atwdrjibi 'l-Kdsim, by Sayyid c Uthman b. 
c Abd Allah b. c Akil b. Yahya Jakarta 1342/1924, pp. 
in Malay. During the reading gaharu or aloes 


n read Arabic (normally only in the towns), he 
be asked to read the Hdshiyat al-imdm al-^drif bplldh 
ta'dld Abi 'l-Barakdt Sayyidi Ahmad al-Dardir '■aid Kissat 
al-Mi'-radj, IPl-'-allama al-hammdm barahat al-anam Naajm 
ad-Din al-Qhayti, Cairo n.d., pp. 27. This work is 
known generally as Dardir. A poetic rendering of the 
mi'-radj, was written in Malay by Hadji Adam b. Hadji 
Kasman, the Syair Mi 'raj Nabi Muhammad, Jakarta 
1926. Another very popular Arabic booklet here is al- 
BarzandjT's Kissat al-mi'-rdaj. 

In the mosque, the preacher will begin with 
prayers, then launch into a nasiha, an admonishing 
sermon. He will explain the passages Kur'an XVII, 
1, and LIII, 9, in the light of the well-known commen- 
taries. He may also quote the even better known 
Mawlid of al-Barzandji, usually referred to as Sharaf al- 
anam (see mawlid, and C. Snouck Hurgronje, The 
Achehnese, Leiden 1906, 209-14). In this Mawlid (as in 
most) there is a section on the mfrddj., section XIV 
(see for a translation, J. Knappert, Swahili Islamic 
poetry, Leiden 1971, i, 57-8). The recital is terminated 
with the salutation to the Prophet, again from the 
Mawlid of al-Barzandji; it begins: Yd Nabi, saldmu 
'■alayka... (for a translation see Knappert, op. cit., iii, 
322, v. 31). All the worshippers present sing this 
passage with the preacher, while standing up, as the 
text prescribes, out of respect for Muhammad. It is 
customary for the imam to commemorate the mi c rddi 
also in his khutba on the Friday before as well as the 
Friday after 27 Radjab. In some districts of West 
Java, gambling is strictly prohibited during the entire 

At night the mosque may be illuminated, and even 
fireworks are set off by some; houses, too, keep a lamp 
burning all night. The celebration may last until the 
salat al-subh; this is doubtless in memory of Muham- 
mad's return from the heavens before dawn (Knap- 
pert, op. cit., iii, 271, v. 96). The religious teacher (in 
West Java, the Kiyai) will embellish the legend, weav- 
ing moral lessons into it for the edification of his flock. 
In the Periangan, he will speak in Sundanese, after 
the prayers in Arabic; there is a Sundanese poem 
describing the mi c rddi which can be sung that night. 
Some people fast during 27 Radjab, others fast for 
nine days, not consecutively but in sets of three at the 
beginning, middle and end of Radjab, which was 
already a holy month in ancient Arabia. Between the 
two World Wars, processions came into fashion, 
especially among the younger generation in 
Indonesia. Various Islamic groups have different opi- 
nions about the desirability of celebrating the mi'Trddj. 
Modernists explain it totally symbolically as a 
spiritual development. Reformists want to abolish 
mi'rddj, celebrations as a bid'-a which smacks of wor- 
shipping the Prophet rather than God alone. The con- 
servatives however, cling to the c ddat and take the 
mfyadi literally, namely that Muhammad saw God 
"with the eyes of his head" (al-Barzandji). 

Bibliography (in addition to references given in 
the article); H.H. Juynboll, Catalogus van de 
Maleische en Sundaneesche Handschriften der Leidsche 
Universiteitsbibliotheek, Leiden 1899, 203 (mentions 

also mss. in Buginese, Macassarese and Sun- 
danese); Ph.S. Van Ronkel, Catalogus der Maleische 
Handschriften Ban het Koninklijk Instituut v.d. Taal-, 
Land- en Volk.enk.unde van Nederlandsch Indie, The 
Hague n.d., 196-7; G.F. Pijper, Fragmenta islamica, 
1934, 125-55; G.Th. Pigeaud, The literature of Java, 
The Hague 1967, 99. 

(J. Knappert) 

5. The Mi'rddj. in Islamic art. 

In the spirit of the Second Commandment, strict 
Muslims have always frowned on the portrayal of 
humans and other living creatures in painting and 
sculpture, and this antipathy is naturally strongest 
when the depiction of the Prophet Muhammad is in 
question. But this peculiarly Semitic prejudice was 
never fully shared by the Aryan Persians, and it is 
thus primarily in the miniature painting of Persia that 
we must look for representations of the micrddi. As Sir 

the poets... to include in the Preface... a lyrical out- 
burst on the theme of Muhammad's Ascension. . . No 
incident in the religious history of Islam is more com- 
monly represented in Muslim art than this of the 
Ascension of the Prophet." 

There were, indeed, a number of works, poetical 
and otherwise, devoted entirely to the mi'-radf. and its 
attendant circumstances (see 2. above). These are 
represented in painting, firstly, by the fragments of a 
large 8th/14th century manuscript preserved in 
Topkapi album H. 2154, the miniatures being 
attributed to Ahmad Musa, and secondly, by the 
celebrated Paris manuscript of 840/1436 (Suppl. turc 
190) written at Herat in the Uighur language, and 
illustrated by one of the finest and most original sets 
of miniatures in the whole of Persian painting. But 
these are special cases, and we are more concerned 


of the classical poets. 

The earliest of these date from the opening years of 
the 9th/15th century. In the Miscellany of Iskandar 
Sultan (British Library Add. 27261, dated 813-14/ 
1410-11, fol. 6a) the mi'-rddi is represented with the 
Prophet, mounted on Burak, surrounded by angels, 
and conducted by Gabriel, soaring above the Ka c ba 
enclosure at Mecca, and this scheme of representation 
is closely followed in a detached double-page 
miniature of much the same date in the Chester 
Beatty Library (Cat. 292. i, ii). In both these (as in 
the Paris manuscript of 1436) the Prophet is shown 
unveiled, but in the latter, as in many subsequent 
examples, the face has been partially obliterated and 
repainted. This same basic composition, i.e. with the 
Ka c ba below and the Prophet unveiled, is followed in 
"main line" Persian painting of the later Timurid 
period, as in the Nizaml of 900/1494 in the British 
Library (Or. 6810, fol. 5b), and is continued in the 
Keir Collection miniature (Cat. III. 207) dated 
910/1505, which is one of those added under Shah 
Isma c Il to the Nizami of Ya c kub Beg Ak Koyunlu 
(Topkapi, H. 762), and may well be an early work of 
Sultan Muhammad. This latter miniature is among 
the most striking and original treatments of the sub- 
ject, the ascent, accompanied by innumerable angels 
and observed by others through a circular "hole in 
Heaven", being enclosed in a rectangular frame with 
Ka c ba enclosure below and little desert villages 

with pair 


the n 


of frequen 

manuscripts of the Timurid period (though, curiously 
enough, hardly ever found in the mass of manuscripts 
illustrated in the Commercial Turkman style), but in 


these, as in the numerous Safawid examples, the 
Ka c ba is omitted, only the Prophet, now veiled, and 
accompanying angels being shown. Perhaps the finest 
of all is in the great Nizaml of Shah Tahmasp (British 
Library Or. 2265, fol. 195a) which is almost certainly 
the work of Sultan Muhammad, and probably 
represents his swan-song. 

Exceptional portrayals are occasionally 

encountered. Thus in the Topkapi Nizaml of 844/- 
1441 (H. 774), probably of western Indian origin, the 
Prophet is depicted as a golden disc inscribed with his 
name; and in the British Library copy of 1075/1665 
(Add. 6613, fol. 3b) the ascent is made against a 
background of concentric circles with the symbols of 
the planets revolving round the sun. 

In post-Sarawid painting, the theme becomes some- 
what vulgarised; Burak may sport a peacock's tail and 
a clumsy Kadjar crown, and the Prophet is sometimes 
reduced to a sort of shapeless bundle. But on a fine 
painted lacquer mirror-case of 1288/1871 in the Bern 
Historical Museum, Muhammad Isma c Il depicts the 
scene in traditional manner, though on a miniature 

Bibliography: Sir Thomas Arnold, Painting in 
Islam, Oxford 1928, chs. vi-vii; Marie-Rose Seguy, 
The miraculous journey of Mahomet, London 1977. 
Reproductions of mi'-rddf miniatures are fairly fre- 
quent in general works on Persian painting, but see 
especially: L. Binyon, The poems of Nizami, London 
1928, pi. xiv; L. Stchoukine, Les peintures des 

Robinson in Iran, JBIPS, viii (1970), 47-5o', pi. V; 
idem, Persian paintings in the India Office Library, Lon- 
don 1976, 26, 148; idem (ed.), The Keir Collection: 
Islamic painting and the arts of the book, London 1976, 
col. pi. 19, pi. 32, 47, 95; idem, Persian paintings in 
the John Rylands Library, London 1980, 73; j.M. 
Rogers, F. Cagman and Z. Tanindi, Topkapi: the 
albums and illustrated manuscripts, London 1986, pi. 
45-7. _ (B.W. Robinson) 


the FarukI dynasty (regn. 926-43/1520-37). He 
belonged to the younger branch of that line, which 
had taken refuge in Gudjarat, and his ancestors had 
lived in that kingdom and had married princesses of 
the Muzaffarl family until Mahmud I of Gudjarat 
[a. v.] had, on theextinction of the elder branch of the 
Farukls, placed c Adil Khan III, Muhammad's father, 
on the throne of Khandesh. Muhammad, who was, 

and the grandson of his son, Muzaffar II, succeeded 
his father in Khandesh in 926/1520, and in 933/1527 
incautiously intervened in the cause of 'Ala 3 al-DIn 
c Imad Shah of Berar [q.v.] by aiding him against his 
enemy, Burhan Nizam Shah I of Ahmadnagar [q.v. 
and nizam-shahis]. He was defeated and driven back 
into Khandesh . but succeeded in persuading his 
uncle, Bahadur of Gudjarat, to intervene, and with 
him invaded the kingdom of Ahmadnagar. The cam- 
paign was only partially successful, but Muhammad 
was indemnified by Burhan I for his losses. He accom- 
panied his uncle in the campaign which ended, in 
937/1531, in the capture of Mandu {q.v.} and the 
annexation of Malwa to Gudjarat, and on Bahadur's 
death in 944/1537, was summoned, in his mother's 
right, to the throne of Gudjarat, but died on his way 
to Ahmadabad. 

Bibliography: Firishta, Gulshan-i Ibrahimi, Bom- 
bay 1832; Muhammad b. c Umar al-Makkl, Zafar 
al-walih, ed. E. Denison Ross as An Arabic history of 
Gujarat, London 1910-28; T.W. Haig, The Faruqi 


1408), th 

handesh, in The Indian Antiquary, xlvii 
nbridge history of India, iii. Turks and 

Haig, Cambridge 1928, 314, 328-9. 

Bibls. to farukids and khandesh and 
. History, at iii, 422. 

(T.W. Haig*) 

., MIYANDJl]. 

;. TIMUR (ca. 768-810/ca. 1367- 
lird son of TlmGr [q.v.] (Tamerlane), 
mcubine named Menglicek. Due to his 
wo Cinggisid princesses, he bore the title 
al son-in-law"). In 782/1380-1, he was 
jvernor of Khurasan, shortly before its 
. He shared power there with several of 
Timur's senior commanders, and spent much of his 
time outside the province, accompanying Tfmur to 
western Persia in 786-7/1384-5, to Kh^arazm and the 
Kipcak steppe in 790/1388-9 and 792-3/1390-1, and 
on the "five-year campaign" to Persia in 794-8/1392- 
6, returning to Khurasan only to put down local 

_ In 795/1393 Miranshah became governor of 
Adharbaydjan and western Persia. He did not 
immediately transfer his dependents, but first cam- 
paigned with Tfmur in the Kipcak steppe in 797- 
8/1395-6. As governor, he executed the founder of the 
lurufl sect [see hurOfiyya], Fadl Allah Astarabadl, 
i 796/1394. The HurufT considered him an anti- 
Ihrist and referred to him as Maranshah ("snake 
ing"). During Timur's Indian campaign of 800- 
/l 398-9, Miranshah remained in Adharbaydjan, 
nd according to the histories, fell from his horse and 
ecame temporarily insane; this was probably an 
ttempt at independence. He distributed public 
loney, besieged Baghdad, destroyed buildings in 

•nirs. In documents of this period he apparently omit- 
ted Timur's name. Tlmur removed Miranshah from 
i, kept him close to himself and meted out 
riishment to his retinue. In Shawwal 
806/April-May 1404, TTmur allowed Miranshah to 
leave for Baghdad with his son Aba Bakr. 

Miranshah and his sons were active in the succes- 
sion struggle after TlmQr's death. His son Khalll 
Sultan held Transoxania until 811/1409; Aba Bakr 
and Miranshah disputed Adharbaydjan with 'Umar 
b. Miranshah and the Karakoyunlu Turkmen. 
Miranshah died fighting with Kara Yusuf 
Karakoyunlu in 810/1408. 

Sldl Ahmad b. Miranshah married Rukiyya Sultan 
bt. Kara c UtJiman Akkoyunlu, and his descendants 
remained in Adharbaydjan as the MIranshahl clan, 
holding an important position within the Akkoyunlu. 
Miranshah's grandson Abu Sa c Id b. Sultan Muham- 
mad gained power over the northeastern Tlmurid 
realm in 855/1451; Abu Sard's grandson, Babur b. 
c Umar Shaykh [q.v.], founded the Mughal dynasty in 

Bibliography: Sharaf al-DIn C A1I Yazdf, Zafar- 
nama, ed. M. c Abbasf, Tehran 1336/1957; Tadj al- 
DIn Salmanl, Shams al-husn, ed. and tr. H.R. 
Roemer, Sams al-husn. Erne Chronik vom Tode Ttmurs 
bis zum Jahre 1409, Wiesbaden 1956; Thomas of 
Metsop c , History of Tlmur, Russian tr. T.I. Ter- 
Grigonan, Baku 1957; J.E. Woods, Turco-Iranica 
II. Notes on a Timurid decree of 13961798, in JNES, 
xliii; idem, The Aqqoyunlu. Clan, confederation, empire, 
Minneapolis-Chicago 1976; H. Ritter, Die Anfinge 
der Hurupsekte, in Oriens, vii (1954). 

(Beatrice Forbes Manz) 
MIR'AT (a.) "mirror", pi. maraH, the noun of 
instrument from ra?i "to see". 


The mirrors used by the Muslims were generally of 
polished metal, and specimens of these can be seen in 
museum collections [see ma c din. 4. In Islamic art, 
(3)], but they do not seem to have been made the 
object of particular studies by historians of Islamic art. 
A long-lived tradition keeps up the remembrance of 
"burning mirrors" (maraya muhrika in al- 
Kalkashandl, Subh, xiv, 217) as legendary as the 
revolving mirror which was set up on the Mukatjam 
hills [q-v.] in order to allow an official to follow the 
movements of Pharaoh between Heliopolis and Mem- 
phis (see al-Idnsi, Opus geographicum, 325, 11. 6 ff., and 
see manuf). The mirror placed on top of the Pharos 
of Alexandria was designed to give information about 
enemies approaching by sea (see al-Mas c udI, Murudj., 
ii, 439 = §841, andcf. manar). 

Within Islam, mirrors posed problems which 
belonged not only to the science of optics properly 
speaking, but also to philosophy, to such an extent 
that they early attracted the attention of scholars, 
thinkers and even of simple observers of natural 
phenomena. One of the first authors to have tackled 
this question was, it seems, al-Djahiz (d. 255/868-9 
\q.v. ]), who, in his K. al-Tarb? wa 'l-ladwir, ed. Pellat, 
§§ 167 ff., puts a series of questions to his correspon- 
dent about mirrors and reflecting surfaces; he asks 
him why running water does not retain images and 
why certain mirrors gave back a reversed image; he 
further questions him about the nature of these 
images and begs him to inform him whether it is a 
question here of accidents or substances, of real 
objects or those produced by imagination, and fur- 
ther, whether these images blot out the shape and col- 
our of the surface which they occupy on the mirror. 
These topics have arisen in the author's mind partly 
through his adhesion to the Mu c tazili doctrine which 
holds that two bodies cannot occupy the same space 
(see e.g. A.N. Nader, Le systeme philosophique des Mu l - 
tazila, Beirut 1956, 166-7) and partly through his 
desire to place the person challenged who, being a 
Sh^T, is required to put forward a similar view. In 
addition, for the Shl'a, the comparison between the 
epiphanic (mazhariyya) function and that "of a mirror 
where the image appears but does not have 
substance" (H. Corbin, Histoire de la philosophic islami- 
que, Paris 1964, 94-5) seems to hold a certain impor- 
tance (see the translation of the TarbF in Arabica, xiv 
[1967], by M. Adad, 306 n. 2, who cites this last 
passage and another text by Corbin). 

Al-Djahiz does not provide any answers to the ques- 
tions which he poses and it would probably be difficult 
to find any precise information on them, but some 
indications can be found in later works, especially in 
the ^Adja^ib al-makhlukai of al-KazwInl (d. 682/1283 
[q. v. ]), who gives the impression of echoing current 
conceptions whilst at the same time having in mind 
the problems set forth in the Tarbf (see ed. 
Wustenfeld, Gottingen 1849, 95-7, ed. Cairo 
1376/1956, 64-5). For this author, "what one sees in 
a mirror does not have any reality, for if this were the 
case, an observer who moves his position would see 
the object in question stay in the same place, whereas 
this is not in fact what happens ... It is thus established 
that what one sees in a mirror ... comes under the 
heading of an illusion (khaydl); here the khaydl consists 
in seeing the image of an object mixed up with that of 
another thing, deriving from it the illusion that one of 
them is penetrating into the other, whilst in reality, it 
is nothing of the sort; in reality, one of them is seen 
through the mediation of the other without being fixed 
in it." Al-Kazwini does not use the words '■arad "acci- 
dent" and dj_awhar "substance", but he gives a clear 

reply to the questions put by al-Djahiz in this con- 

From the optical point of view, the mathematician 
and physicist Ibn al-Haytham (d. 430/1039 [q.v.]) 
devoted several works to the scientific problems posed 
by mirrors and, in a general manner, made some pro- 
gress in the study of optics without, however, modify- 

time. Certainly, al-KazwIni explains exactly how a 
ray of light emanating from a luminous body falls on 
to a polished object, from which it is reflected and goes 
on to touch another object whose position, in relation 
to the reflecting surface, is the same as that of the 
luminous body, but from the opposite side; in these 
conditions, the angle of reflections is equal to that of 

Likewise, the object and the observer who wishes to 
see it in a mirror must be symmetrically placed so that 
the first is reached by a ray leaving the eye of the second. The 
Muslims in effect adopted this conception which the 
mathematician and physicist Ibn al-Haytham (d. 
430/1039 [q.v.]) had however refuted long before al- 
Kazwmi's time. The latter nevertheless remarks that 
the ray in question is purely imaginary, whilst that 
emanating from a luminous object is in fact real, but 
the persistence of the idea of the ray of vision is proba- 
bly due in part to the belief in the evil eye [see c ayn]. 
Lecanomancy (see T. Fahd, La divination arabe, 
index, s.v.) was practised by diviners who, according 
to Ibn Khaldun (Mukaddima, ed. Quatremere, i, 194, 
tr. de Slane, i, 221-2, tr. Rosenthal, i, 216-17), 
occupied an inferior rank, since they were forced to 
concentrate all their perceptions into one sense. They 
stare fixedly at a mirror until a screen appears on 
which are pictured the forms which they desire to see 
and which allow them to give indications about what 
they wish to know. In this condition, they do not see 
what is in reality depicted in the mirror, and the new 
manner of perception which originates in them 
operates "not by means of vision, but in the psyche". 
Finally, one may note that the word miPat figures 
in a fairly considerable number of titles of works (from 
Mir^dt al-^adja^ib to Mir^dt al-zamdn, amounting to 
more than a column in the index of book titles in 
Brockelmann), with a meaning fairly close to that of 
speculum in mediaeval European times. Similarly, the 
daily and the periodical press uses this term which, in 
1947, formed part of at least seven titles (see Ch. 
Pellat, Note sur les litres des periodiques arabes, in En Terre 
d'Islam, 1947/2, 144). 

Bibliography: Given in the article. The work by 
Diodes on burning mirrors, the Greek original of 
which is lost, has been preserved in Arabic transla- 
tion (see Diodes, On burning mirrors, ed. with tr. and 
comm. by G.J. Toomer, 1976). (Ch. Pellat) 
MlRATH (a), Inheritance (pi. mawdrtth); wdnth 
the heir, murith the person leaving the estate. This 
branch of Islamic law is also called Him al-farPid " the 
science of the ordained quotas" (cf sura IV, II) after 
its most important and most difficult part. 



i. In keeping with the patriarchal system prevailing 
among the Arabs, the estate of a deceased tribesman 
went ab intestato to the nearest male relative(s); the 
order of succession in which these relatives, the so- 
called c asaba (corresponding to agnail), were called 
upon to inherit survives and is systematised in 
Muslim law. Minors — being incapable of bearing arms 
—were excluded from the succession, as were female 
relatives; widows also were not entitled to inherit, and 
originally presumably themselves formed a part of the 


estate, a view which survived in the levirate marriage 
usual among the Arabs, to which sura IV, 19, refers 
in forbidding it. There is no evidence of any preferen- 
tial treatment of the first-born, which we find else- 
where in Semitic law. This, the original legal position, 
had by Muhammad's time certainly altered s 

n favou 


have obtained the estate; but woman had by no means 
equal treatment with man, as is clear from the 
Kur'anic regulations. In addition to these principal 
heirs, the pre-Islamic Arabs had also secondary heirs 
who correspond to the later so-called quota-heirs 
{dhawu 'l-jara'id) and received a part of the estate, the 
bulk of which went to the c asaba. From suras II, 180, 
and IV, 33, which confirm this arrangement, we can 
see that these included the parents, the "relatives" — 
apparently so far as they were not 'asaba — and the so- 
called confederates (halif, plur. hulafa 7 ); the settlement 
of the portions falling to them was done — at least in 
part— according to the last will of the testator. All this 
has its parallels in the development of a "mitigated 
agnatic succession" among other peoples. 

ii. The Kur'an modified this system considerably 


len her. 

i regard 

the laws of family life generally; 
there is a clear endeavour to fix in legal form the prac- 
tice which had varied considerably in heathen times. 
One provision which had been made under special 
circumstances was abandoned later on: immediately 
after the hidjra, it had been ordered that those who 
migrated with the Prophet (the muhadjirun) and the 
believers in Medina (the ansar) should regard them- 
selves as brethren and therefore inherit from one 
another [see mu'akhat], while all bonds of relation- 
ship between the muhadjirun and their relatives left in 
Mecca, even if they were believers, were to be 
regarded as broken (sura VIII, 72, with the limitation 
imposed in VIII, 75); but this was expressly revoked 
by XXXIII, 6. Tradition regards this fraternisation 
as a special case of confederacy (hilf). For the rest, the 
Kurgan in the first Medina period confirmed the 
system of secondary heirs and the whole general prac- 
tice in regard to inheritance (sura II, 180, is probably 
to be dated before Ramadan of the year 2, and IV, 33, 
cannot be much later); that II, 180, expressly makes 
the fair treatment of the secondary heirs a duty, 
already reveals the direction which later ordinances 
were to take. Connected with this is the probably con- 
temporary II, 240, which secures the wife, if she sur- 
vives her husband, a legacy of maintenance for a year. 
Not much later, about the year 3, is IV, 19: "Ye who 
believe, it is not lawful for you to inherit women 
against their will"; this is not meant as a regular legal 

improve the position of women. Very soon after the 
battle of Uhud, when numerous Muslims had fallen, 

suit of i 


len belongs a share 

ordinance of IV, 7-1' 
of what their parents and kindred le 
women belongs a share of what their parents and kin- 
dred leave — whether it be little or much — as a deter- 
mined share. 8. If the next of kin (not entitled to 
inherit), the orphans and the poor are present at the 
division, give them some of it and speak kindly to 
them (verses 9-10 go on to deal with the treatment of 
orphans). 11. Allah ordains for you, concerning your 
children, (as follows): for the male the like of the por- 
tion of two females; but if there are (only) females 
(and) more than two, two-thirds of the estate belongs 
to them and if there is (but) one (female) to her 

belongs the half. And the parents shall each have a 
sixth of the estate if (the deceased) has children, and 
if he has no children and (only) his parents inherit 
from him, his mother shall have a third. But if he has 
brothers, his mother shall have a sixth. (All this) after 
deducting a bequest he may have made or a debt. Ye 
know not whether your parents or your children be 
nearest to you in usefulness. (This is) an ordinance of 
Allah, and Allah is knowing and wise. 12. To you 
belongs the half of the estate of your wives, if they 
have no children; but if they have children, a fourth 
of their estate belongs to you— after deducting a 
bequest they may have made or a debt. To them 
belongs a fourth of your estate, if you have no 
children; but if you have children an eighth of your 
belongs to them — after deducting a bequest you 


i debt. I 

in leave 

ithout having a direct heir (i.e 
father), but has a brother or a sister, each shall have 
a sixth; but if there are more than that, they shall 
share a third after deducting a bequest he may have 
made or debt, without prejudice. (This is) an 
ordinance of Allah, and Allah is knowing and 



i indir. 

undecided, IV, 176, supplemented the 
above: "They will ask thee for a decision. Say: Allah 
gives you the following decision concerning the suc- 
cession of those who have died without direct heirs: if 
a man dies and has no children, but has a sister, half 
of the estate belongs to her and he is her heir if she has 
no children; if there be two sisters, two-thirds of the 
estate belongs to them; but if there be both brothers 
and sisters, the male shall have like the portion of two 

The object of these regulations is simply to supple- 
ment the law regarding the rights of the '-asaba; they 
are not a reorganisation of the whole law. Each of the 
persons named is therefore only allotted a definite 
portion; the remainder, and this, as a rule the major 
portion, of the estate, falls as before to the '-asaba. 
Female relatives thus generally receive half the share 
of male relatives of the same degree. The quotas here 
given abolished the testamentary settlement of the 
portions usual in the heathen period, which was still 
approved by II, 180; this is the historical starting 
point for the tradition — early interpreted in another 
sense — that a legacy in favour of the heirs is not valid. 
II, 240, is probably rightly regarded as abrogated by 
the settling of the widow's portion. There is a slight 
difficulty in interpretation only in IV, 12; but there 
can be no doubt that this passage refers to half-sisters 
on the mother's side, as indeed it has always been 
interpreted; the text of Ubayy even inserts an addition 
to this effect. The verse IV, 176, on the other hand 
refers to full sisters. In IV, II, "more than two" is to 
be interpreted, as the sense requires, as "two and 

iii. The full details which tradition is able to give 
regarding the causes of the revelation of the regula- 
tions on the law of inheritance are not historical; on 
internal grounds, all we can say is that it took place 
soon after the battle of Uhud. The numerous hadiths 
which simply repeat the Kur'anic regulations may be 
neglected here. Tradition can only record very few 
actual divergences from the prescriptions of the 
Kur'an; one of these is that a woman received back as 
her inheritance a slave whom she had presented to her 
mother and who represented the latter's whole estate. 
According to another story, the Prophet is said to have 
laid down that the wives of the muhddjirun should 
inherit the house of their husbands. While nothing 


in be quoted in favour of the first hadith, the secoi 
hich does not seem to be intended as a foundati 
y legal clause, may have a kernel of histori 
ruth ii ' 

iv. The prescriptions of the Kur'an are sup- 
plemented and developed in countless traditions, 
among which a comparatively large number relate not 
to decisions of the Prophet himself, but of his 
Companions; in reality they must not even be 
regarded as that, but only as anonymous evidence of 
the first developments of the Kur'anic law of 
inheritance. At this stage of development, it is already 
firmly established that an unbeliever cannot inherit 
from a Muslim; the right of a Muslim to inherit from 
an unbeliever is finally also denied, although there is 
some opposition to this view. Excluded from the right 
of inheritance is also one who has killed the proprietor 
of the estate, at least if the slaying was deliberate (with 
c amd; cf. katl). That a slave has no right of 
inheritance is taken for granted. Legal relationship is 
necessary for the right of inheritance; thus illegitimate 
children or those whose paternity has been disputed 
by li'an [q. v. ] have no legal claim on the estates of their 
father and his relations. The mawld [q.v.] is annexed 
the patron and the manumitted slave 

it fro] 


ding to 

the same right is even granted to the man before 
whom the person concerned has adopted Islam, who 
is also called mawld. After the mawld come — although 
some oppose this — the dhawu 'l-arhdm, i.e. persons 
related to the legator in the female line, whose 
representative is usually the khdl or maternal uncle. In 
case all these heirs should not exist, the fellow- 
tribesmen are named. With certain modifications 
which occur again in the later teaching, a son's 
daughters are treated like daughters, and grand- 
parents like parents, but this regulation only won 
recognition after opposition and varying practice in 
details. There arises the problem of the share of the 
grandfather beside the brothers, which goes back to 
his varying position in the series of the c asaba; along 
with other views, we find quoted also the one that later 
prevailed, but it does not seem to be the earliest. The 
Kur'an lays down that before dividing the estate the 
amount of any legacies and debts should be deducted; 
in early times — probably in literal interpretation of 
the Kur 3 anic passages — the legacies were often given 
preference to debts; after some opposition, the oppo- 
site teaching prevailed. The diya [q.v.] to be paid for 
a slain man should be subject to the usual rules as part 
of his estate; but in early times, the wife was not 
allowed a share in the diya of her slain husband, which 
goes back to old Arab conceptions of the family; the 
other view ultimately prevailed. The eager interest 
taken in early Islam in the law of inheritance is 
reflected in hadith; there are traditions in which the 
Prophet orders the law of inheritance to be taught and 
learned, calls it "the half of knowledge" on account 
of its difficulty, and expresses the fear that this sub- 
ject, so difficult to remember, might disappear from 
the memory of his community. 

v. The following are the principles of the law of 
inheritance in the fully-developed/rt/z according to the 
Shafi c r teaching. 

:. The 

1. There 

fusion between the property of the deceased and that 
of the heir; the creditors of the estate can therefore 
only assert their claims against the estate. In addition 
to obligations entered into by the deceased, the debts 
of the estate include the funeral expenses and the 
religious duties omitted by the deceased, so far as they 
consist of concrete things (e.g. neglected fasts [sawm]) 

or can be carried through at the expense of the estate 
by a deputy (e.g. the hadjdj omitted without good 
reason). After the debts any legacies have to be paid 
[see wasiyya]; the remainder passes to the heirs. A 
necessary condition for inheriting is that the heir has 
survived the deceased; in doubtful cases, when per- 
sons who would inherit from one another have died 
without its being certain who died first, as a rule no 
inheritance passes between them. The heir must also 
have existed when the testator died; only in the case 
where a man leaves a pregnant widow or umm al- 
walad, is a child's share reserved for the unborn child. 
Excluded from succession are the following: one who 
has caused the death of the deceased, the murtadd, an 
unbeliever from the succession to a Muslim and vice- 
versa, the harbt (the unbelieving member of a state 
with which the Muslim stands in no treaty relation) 
and the slave. The c asaba are the normal heirs; 
inheritance by others is only an exception; so the 
c asaba receive the whole estate after the deduction of 
the portions for the quota-heirs. If there are no c asaba, 
remainder of the estate goes to the state treasury 
(bayt al-mal [q.v.]; a notable change from the view 
found in traditions), on the condition that it is 
administered according to law for the benefit of the 
Muslims; otherwise, the quota-heirs receive the 
remainder of the estate in proportion to their quotas 
by the so-called law of reversion (radd), with the excep- 
tion of the widower or widow. Only if there are 
neither c asaba nor quota-heirs and the state treasury is 
not being administered in accordance with the law are 
the dhawu 'l-arhdm — i.e. persons related to the 
deceased in the female line as well as those female 
relatives who cannot be quota-heirs — called upon to 
inherit. If there are none of these relatives, any 
Muslim may take possession of the estate if he is 
capable and ready to administer it for the general 
good of Muslims. 

b. Succession of the c asaba. The c asaba are called 
upon to inherit in the following order: 1 . The male 
descendants of the deceased in the male line, a nearer 
excluding the more distant relatives from the succes- 
sion. 2. The nearest male relative in the ascending 
male line with the provision that the father, but not 
the grandfather (and the remoter ascendant) of the 
deceased inherits before his brothers. 3. The nearest 
male relative in the male line among the descendants 
of the father: first the full brother, then the half- 
brother on the father's side, then the descendants of 
the full brother, then those of the half-brother on the 
father's side. 4. The nearest male relative in the male 
line among the descendants of the grandfather (as 
under 3), etc. 5. Lastly, the mawld, i.e. the patron (or 
patroness), if the deceased was a freedman, and then 
his c asaba. — The brothers of the deceased inherit along 
with the grandfather as '■asaba in equal shares, but if 
there are more than two brothers, the grandfather 
receives not less than one-third of what is to be divided 
between him and the brothers. If there are also quota- 
heirs, the grandfather is allowed in addition at least a 
sixth of the estate (which he would inherit as a quota- 
heir; cf. c, below). He can then choose the most 
favourable of the three arrangements. — Female 
c asaba. If the deceased left sons as well as daughters, 
they inherit jointly, the share of a son being twice as 
large as that of a daughter while the quota allotted to 
the daughters is dropped, as is intended by the spirit 
of the Kur'anic law. The daughter who inherits along 
with a son is therefore also called '■asaba. The daughter 
of a son of the legator is similarly treated, inheriting 
along with the son of a son; and likewise the full sister, 
who inherits along with a full brother; finally, also the 

Mig them; they are excluded froi 
sion by descendants and male ascendants. 11. The 
widower receives half of the estate, but only a quarter 
if there is a child or son's child; it is indifferent 
whether these are his own descendants or not. 12. The 
widow receives the half of what a widower would 
receive under the same circumstances; if the deceased 
leaves more than one widow, they share equally the 
quota allotted to the widow. During the Hdda (period 
of waiting [q.v.]) after a revocable divorce or talak 

and wife for purposes of ir ' 

Although the quota-heirs c 

xcluded by those in the direct line, the 
number of qualified quota-heirs may sometimes be so 
large that the sum of their shares is larger than the 
whole estate; in this case, their shares are propor- 
tionately reduced (by 'awl). Otherwi 


h have special n 


a few particular 

half-sister on the father's side, who inherits with a side receives a sixth, two or more togetl 

half-brother on the father's side.— If the full sister 

inherits along with a daughter of the deceased or of his 

son, they do not receive their quota, which in this case 

goes to the daughter or son's daughter, but the rest of 

the estate after deduction of all quotas that have to be 


c. Shares of the quota-heirs (dhawu 'l-fard^d; cf. 
fara'id). It is true that in the Kur'an only the 
daughters, parents, husband and wife, and brothers 
and sisters are allotted a quota, but the rules holding 
for the daughters have been extended to the daughters 
of the son and those for the parents to the grand- 
parent; in addition, a distinction has been made 
among the sisters between the full sister, the half-sister 

on the father's side and the half-sister on the mother's together and, in partici 
side. The total number of quota-heirs has thus been 
raised to twelve: 1 . The daughter is entitled to half the 
estate, two or more daughters get two-thirds, but if 
daughters inherit along with sons, they become 'asaba 
(cf. 6, above). 2. The daughter of a son is subject to 

the same rules as a daughter and takes her place in rence of a number of heii 
default of her; inheriting along with the son of a son, from the main rules, 
she becomes 'asaba. As the son's daughter is related to 
the deceased through his son, she is excluded from 
participation when the son of a deceased inherits. A 
daughter, on the other hand, does not exclude directly 
a son's daughter from the succession; as however 
daughters and son's daughters together have only 
two-thirds of the estate as their quota, a son's 
daughter has only a sixth if there is one daughter, and 
nothing if there are two or more, unless she inherits 
in these cases along with a son's son as 'asaba. 3. The 
father's quota is always a sixth of the estate; in addi- 
tion, he is '■asaba and receives also any residuum of the 
estate after deducting all quotas, unless there are male 
descendants of the deceased. 4. The paternal grand- 
father (in default of him, the remoter ascendant) also 
receives one-sixth of the estate as his quota, but is 
excluded by the father; he is also 'asaba if there are no 
male descendants nor father of the deceased. But if, in 
this case, there are also brothers of the legator, he 
becomes 'asaba along with them (on the share which 
falls to the grandfather in this case and in the case 
where there are also quota-heirs, cf. b, above). 5. The 
mother receives one-sixth of the estate if there are 
children, son's children or two or more brothers or 
sisters of the deceased; otherwise a third (in practice, 
the father in this case as a rule receives two-thirds, i.e. 
one-sixth as quota-heir and the rest as 'asaba; in an 
exceptional case, cf. d, below). 6. The quota of the 
grandmother is always a sixth; from this, the mother's 
mother is excluded by the mother, and the father's 
mother by the father and mother; in default of grand- 
mother, their place is taken by the remoter female 
ascendants of the deceased, so far as they . 
related to him by a male descendant not ent 
inherit. 7. A full sister receives half, two or more such 
sisters receive together two-thirds of the estate; along 

with a full brother or the grandfather she becomes 

'asaba and receives the half of the brother's share; 

along with the daughter or son's daughter she 

becomes also 'asaba (cf. b); sons, sons' sons and the 

father exclude her from succession. 8. The treatment 

of the half-sister on the father's side is similar to that 

of the full sister; along with a half-brother on the 

father's side or the grandfather, she becomes 'asaba, 

and likewise with the daughter or son's daughter (cf. 

b); sons, sons' sons, father and full brothers exclude 

her from the succession. Full sisters exclude her only 

so far as daughters exclude son's daughters (cf. no. 2). 

9 and 10. Each of the half-brothers on the mother's female ascendants. One who is entitled t( 

general rules, 
never all inherit 
t of the collateral 

which, if 
, the 
ices would be in a proportion to one another 
which would be contrary to the spirit of the law. E.g. 
in the case of the so-called gharibatan: if someone dies 
leaving a husband or wife and both parents, the 
mother would receive in any case a third, the father's 
share however, which is usually two-thirds (cf. c, 5, 
above), would be here reduced by the quota either of 
the widow or of the widower; according to tradition, 
it was c Umar who decided in this case that father and 
mother should share, in the proportion of two to one, 
what remains after deducting the portion of the widow 
or widower. Another case, the so-called musharraka, is 
that in which a wife leaves her husband, her mother, 
two or more half-brothers on the mother's side and 
also one or more full brothers; as the quotas in this 
case make up the whole estate, nothing would be left 
for the full brothers as 'asaba in this case, which is also 
said to have been decided by c Umar; the law lays 
down that the full brothers have the same rights as the 
half-brothers so that all inherit in equal shares the 
third originally set aside for the half-brothers. 

vi. The most important points of difference among 
the madhahib are the following. Unbelievers who 
belong to different religions cannot inherit from one 
another according to Malik and Ibn Hanbal, but they 
can according to Abu Hanlfa and al-Shafi c T. There 
are contradicting views regarding inheritance from 
the murtadd. One who has deliberately (with 'amd) and 
illegally killed the proprietor of the estate, is, by 
unanimous agreement, excluded from inheriting. 
Abu Hanlfa, al-Shafi c i and Ibn Hanbal, but not 
Malik, also exclude one who has killed him without 
design (with khala^ [q.v.]. One who is partly a slave 
can, according to Abu Hanlfa, Malik and al-Shafi'T. 
neither inherit nor be inherited from; according to Ibn 
Hanbal, Abu Yusuf, al-Shaybani and al-Muzanl, he 
does so in the proportion he is free. The so-called law 
of reversion to the quota-heirs if there are no 'asaba 
(cf. v a, above), as well as the precedence of the dhawu 
'l-arham and the treasury if there are no quota-heirs, 
is disputed among the madhahib. The paternal grand- 
mother is not excluded from the succession by the 
father, according to Ibn Hanbal only; in his view, in 
this case she inherits a sixth either alone or shared 
equally with the mother. There are delicate points of 
egarding the s 

quota from more than one side inherits, according to 
Malik and al-Shafi c I, only on ground of "stronger" 
relationship, but according to Abu Hanlfa and Ibn 
Hanbal on ground of both respects; in the case of two 
cousins on the father's side, of which one is also the 
brother on the mother's side, the latter, it is 
unanimously agreed, receives a sixth and the 
remainder falls to the two as c asaba in equal portions, 
while Abu Thawr makes him inherit the whole. In the 
special case of the so-called musharraka, Malik's view 
agrees with that of al-Shafi c T (cf. v d, above), accord- 
ing to Abu Hanlfa and his fellows, Ibn Hanbal and 
Dawud al-Zahiri, the full brothers actually receive 

vii. a. The law of inheritance with the Imamis 
(Twelver Sh^is) is based on the same principles as 
that of the Sunnis, but in its final development shows 
a number of quite important features of its own, 
which for the greatest part are but the consequences 
of their dogmatic-political doctrines ( C A1I and Fatima 
had to be the only heirs of the Prophet, excluding Ibn 
c Abbas), and partly already expressed in the tradi- 
tions or result from the rejection of certain hadiths, by 
the Sh^a. Among the main divergences are the ignor- 
ing of the c asaba and the constitution of one group of 
"heirs by relationship", which is divided into three 
classes: 1. the ascendants in the first degree and the 
descendants; 2. the other ascendants in the first 
degree; 3. the maternal and paternal uncles and 
aunts. Each of these classes excludes the following 
ones from the succession, and within the two 
categories of the two first classes, the relative of the 
nearer degree excludes all others of a remoter degree 
of relationship, i.e. for example, the daughter 
excludes the son's son; within the third class, a 
distinction into degrees is made between the uncles 
and aunts of the deceased himself and their descen- 

i, the uncles 

descendants, etc., and here also the member of a 
nearer degree excludes those of a remoter degree. An 
exception which finds its explanation only in the 
individual case of the heirs of the Prophet, is that the 
son of the father's full brother excludes one (but no 
more than one) half-brother (on the father's side) of 
the father, if there are no other uncles. Within the 
same degree, the full relatives (male or female) 
exclude all relatives on the father's (not the mother's) 
side, e.g. full sisters exclude half-brothers; the 
relatives on the mother's side are excluded by all other 
relatives of the same degree only from a share in the 
"reversion" of the estate. If relatives, whose relation- 
ships with the deceased are traced through different 
persons, inherit jointly, the proportion of their shares 
is settled by the (hypothetical) shares of the persons 
through whom they are related to the deceased; if, for 
example, paternal and maternal uncles inherit 
together, the former divide two-thirds of the estate 
(i.e. the father's hypothetical share), the latter a third 
(i.e. the mother's hypothetical share). This idea of 
"representation" reappears in one of the Sunn! 
theories on the succession of the dhawu 'l-arham. The 
rules applying to the brothers and sisters of the 
deceased are also applied to his father's brothers and 
sisters and so on, if the latter are called upon to 
inherit; if, for example, father's full brothers and 
sisters, and father's brothers and sisters on the 
mother's side exist together, the latter are not 
excluded by the former but receive a third which is 
divided equally among them (if there is only one, a 
sixth), and the former receive the remaining two- 
thirds (or five-sixths as the case may be), of which 
each uncle gets twice the share of an aunt; the process 

is similar when their children take the place of uncles 
and aunts. The grandfather (and if the case arises the 
remoter ascendants) always inherits equally with the 
brothers of the legator. Within homogeneous groups, 
the male inherits double as much as the female, so far 
as there are no special regulations to the contrary; for 
the rest, the male relative on the father's side is not 
especially privileged before the others, as among the 
Sunnis. Besides these "heirs by relationship", there 
are "heirs for special reasons", i.e. husband and wife, 
and the patron (mawld), namely 1. a patron who has 
freed the deceased from slavery; 2. a patron before 
whom the legator has become a Muslim, or who has 
pledged himself to pay the diya for him (this idea is 
also attested in the traditions and is to be found 
sporadically among the SunnI authorities); 3. the 
imam, who here takes the place of the state treasury, 
and who, as the general patron of all Muslims, is enti- 
tled to inherit in the last resort. — In both main groups 
there are "simple" heirs, and such as have a claim to 
a Kur'anic quota. If the estate does not suffice to 
satisfy all the quotas, the shares are correspondingly 
reduced to the paternal relatives only, never to the 
maternal. What is left over after satisfying the quotas 
is given to the simple "heirs by relationship" accord- 
ing to the above rules; if they do not exist, the quota- 
heirs, with the exception of the husband or wife, 
receive the residuum also; if there are no "heirs by 
relationship" at all, the patrons come in, in the order 

These general rules are sufficient to cause the 
distribution of an estate often to look very different 
among the ShrMS from among the Sunnis. There are 
in addition differences in detail, of which the most 
important are the following. The Muslim does inherit 
from the unbeliever; unbelievers of all sects inherit 
from one another. In determining the portion of the 
childless widow, the landed property of the deceased 
is not taken into account. If the sole existing heir is a 
slave, he is purchased at the expense of the estate (his 
owner cannot refuse to sell him), and thus becomes 
free and inherits what is left; if the parents of the 
deceased are slaves, they must in all cases be pur- 
chased at the expense of the estate, and according to 
some, the children also. The part-slave inherits to the 
degree in which he is free. One who has a claim to an 
inheritance from two sides inherits on both grounds. 
There are no legal relationships between an 
illegitimate child and his mother and her relatives, 
only between him and his descendants; if there are 
none, the estate goes to the imam. In the special case 
of the so-called gharibatan (cf. above, v d), there is no 
divergence from the general principles. — On the 
whole, the Sh^I law of inheritance diverges further 
from the old Arab pre-Islamic principles than the 
SunnI doctrine in opposition to which it has been 

b. The law of inheritance of the §hi<i Zaydis 
resembles rather closely the system of the Sunnis, 
which has influenced its origins. 

c. The most important peculiarities of the law of 
inheritance among the KharidjI Ibadls are the follow- 
ing: the paternal grandfather inherits as quota-heir a 
sixth of the estate if there are descendants of the 
deceased; otherwise, he inherits as c asaba, thus 
excluding the brothers. The half-sister on the 
mother's side is assimilated to the half-sister on the 
father's side if neither this relative nor a full sister 
exists. The grandmother is only excluded by the 
mother. Female descendants, like husband or wife, 
have no share in the "reversion" of the estate. 
Manumission confers no rights of inheritance. If there 

The special case of the so-called musharraka is settled as 
among the Shafi'is (cf. v d, above).— The dependence 
of this system on the SunnI one is apparent. 

viii. The law of inheritance, as a branch of family 
law and as possessing a peculiarly religious character 
from its very full regulation in the Kur'an, has always 
been one of the chapters of Muslim law most carefully 
observed in practice [see c ada and sharT c a]. As in the 
long run it must lead inevitably to the splitting up of 
even the largest estates, various endeavours have been 

undesirable. A method, frequently adopted, was to 
constitute considerable portions of the estate as 
religious endowments [see wakf], the proceeds of 
which could be disposed of by the grantor as he 
pleased; but most endowments in course of time 
became much broken up or were completely 
alienated. Another way adopted, for instance in 
Indonesia, is, in keeping with the local c dda, to admit 

only a porti 
the heirs 

ictual es 

ivided already 
during the lifetime of its possessor by gift or friendly 
arrangement, and not infrequently some member of 
the family, according to circumstances, simply takes 
over the estate and obligations of the deceased. In par- 
ticular, landed property is often taken out of the con- 
trol of Muslim law. Women are excluded from 
inheritance by customary law in many Muslim coun- 
tries, as among the Berbers, in parts of India and in 
China. Different expedients (hiyal [q.v.\) which might 
serve to evade the Muslim rules of inheritance found 

Bibliography. For section 1: Robertson Smith, 
Kinship and marriage, 2nd ed., 65 ff. — For section 
2 (chronology of the Kur'an verses): Noldeke- 
Schwally, Geschichte des Qprans, i (partly different 
from the explanations given above); F. Peltier and 
G.-H. Bousquet, Les successions agnatiques mitigees 
(also for the subsequent development). — For sec- 
tions 3 and 4: Wensinck, Handbook of early Muham- 
madan tradition, s.v. heirs; Peltier, Le Ltvre des 
Testaments du "Cahih" d'el-Bokhdri; al-Shawkan i , 
Nayl al-awtdr, in the Kitdb al-faraHd. — For sections 
5 and 6 (for the older period, the two recensions of 
Malik's al-Muwatta^ are an especially valuable 
source): Juynboll, Handleiding tot de kennis van tie 
Mohammedaansche wet, 3rd ed., 241 ff.; Sachau, 
Muhammedanische Recht, 181 ff. (Shafi'T); Baillie, The 
Moohummudan law of inheritance; idem, A digest of 
Moohummudan law, i, 2nd ed.; G. Bergstrasser, 
Grundzuge des is/amischen Rechts, 90 ff. (Hanafi); 
Khalil b. Ishak, Mukhtasar, tr. Guidi and Santillana; 
Sanchez Perez, Partition de herencias entre los 
Musulmanes (Malik!); Hirsch, Abd ul Kadir Muham- 
mad: Wissenschaft des Erbrechts (Hanafi and Shafi c I). 
— For sections 5-7: Vesey-Fitzgerald, Muhammadan 
law, 111 ff. — For section la: Querry, Droit 
musulman, ii, 326 ff.; Baillie, Digest, ii. — For sec- 
tion lb: Bergstrasser, in OLZ, xxv, 124; 
Strothmann, in hi. xiii, 36 ff. — For section 7<r: 
Sachau, in SB Pr.Ak. W. (1894), 159 ff. — For sec- 
tion 8: Juynboll, Handleiding, 250 ff.; REI, i, 47 ff.; 
ii, 502 ff.; v, 1 ff.; vi, 158 ff.; OM (1937), 541; 
Hamid AH, in IC, xi, 354 ff. , 444 ff. — On the topic 
in general, see also Lane, Manners and customs of the 
modern Egyptians, ch. 3 "Religion and laws"; T.P. 
Hughes, A dictionary of Islam, London 1885, 207-11; 
W. Marcais, Les parents et allies successibles en droit 
musulman, Rennes 1898; E. Viala, Le mecanisme du 
partage des successions en droit musulman, Alger 1917; 
A. Jaussen, Coutumes des Arabes au pays de Moab 2 , 


Paris 1948, 20 ff.; A. Kennett, Bedouin justice, law 
and customs among the Egyptian Bedouin, Cambridge 
1925, 98-106; R. Roberts, The social laws of thi 
Qpran, London 1925, 61-9; A.D. Russell " " 

Suhrawardy, An historical introduction to 
inheritance, London n.d.; M. Gaudefroy- 
Demombynes, Muslim institutions, London 1950, 
139-43; R. Levy, The social structure of Islam, Cam- 
bridge 1957, 144-9, 191; I. Mahmud, Muslim law oj 
succession and administration, Karachi 1958; A. A. A. 
Fyzee, The Fatimid law of inheritance , in SI, ix (1958), 
61-9; G.-H. Bousquet, Le droit musulman, Paris 
1963, 147-59; J. Schacht, An introduction to Islamic 
law, Oxford 1964, 169-74 and bibl. at 280-1; N.J. 
Coulson, A history of Islamic law, Edinburgh 1964, 
index. (J. Schacht) 

2. In n 

i. In recent years, dissatisfaction with the tradi- 
tional law of inheritance has increased, the main 
criticism being lack of harmony between the legal 
norm, adapted to the patrilineal extended family, and 

rights in the estate, against women and cognates; and 
rigidity of the SunnI system of inheritance, which does 
not allow one to freely dispose of one's estate after 
one's death. Recent reforms are mainly inspired by a 
desire to strengthen the rights of succession of heirs 
within the nuclear family. 

The juristic basis of the reforms was provided by a 
wide gamut of methods, the most important of which 

sion, talfik) and "modernistic" interpretation (neo- 
idjtihad) of the textual sources [see mahkama, section 

Relevant legislation: Sudan - Judicial circulars of 
1925, 1939, 1945; Egypt - Law of Inheritance, 1943; 
Law of Testamentary Dispositions, 1946; Syria - Law 
of Personal Status, 1953; Iraq - Law of Personal 
Status, 1959, amendments thereto, 1963, 1978; Jordan 
- Law of Personal Status, 1976; Palestine and Israel - 
Succession Ordinance, 1923; Women's Equal Rights 
Law, 1951; Succession Law, 1965; Tunisia - Law of 
Personal Status, 1956; supplement thereto, 1959; 
Morocco - Code of Personal Status, 1958; Pakistan - 
Muslim Family Laws Ordinance, 1961; Somalia - 
Family Law, 1975. 

ii. The rights of the heirs within the nuclear family 
have been strengthened. India (after partition 
Pakistan), the Sudan (1925) and Jordan adopted the 
rule that the spouse relict should take the whole estate, 
by way of radd "return", in the absence of any other 
legal heir, while Egypt (1943) and Syria give the 
spouse relict priority also over relatives of the outer 
family. Tunisia adopted the doctrine of radd with 
important deviations: the spouse relict is entitled to 
participate in the residual estate along with other 
Kur 3 anic heirs, provided no male agnate, daughter or 
agnatic granddaughter survives (but she is still not 
debarred from radd in the presence of a relative of the 
outer family). The same rule, with minor variations, 
was adopted in Jordan. In Israel (1965), the spouse 
relict has priority over all other heirs. 

In c Irak and Tunisia, a daughter excludes the 
deceased's collateral from the succession. In c Irak 
(1963), this was the result of the application of the 
Shi c J system of priorities to all 'Irakis. The Sunnis, 
however, still apply their own principles of distribu- 
tion within the Shfi order of priorities. 

In both c Irak (1978) and Tunisia (1959), if the 
deceased leaves no son, the daughter alone, when in 
competition with other Kur'anic heirs, is entitled to 

take the residue of the estate by raid. In their absence, 
she takes the whole estate. In Tunisia, she maintains 
this preferential right even in the presence of col- 

Jordan has adopted the rule that germane brothers 
participate in the uterine brothers' third of the estate 
if the estate is exhausted by the Kur'anic heirs (the 
"case of the donkey"). 

The Sudan (1939, 1945), Egypt (1943) and Syria 
(with some variations) adopted a system which admits 
agnatic brothers and sisters to the succession along 
with the grandfather. 'Irak (1959) adopted a Euro- 
pean system of succession under which any brother or 
sister of the deceased totally excluded the grandfather. 
This system was abolished in 1963. 

iii. The most important reform in the position of 
the heirs of the outer family was introduced in c Irak 
(1963) when the ShJ c T law of inheritance, which has a 
totally different order of priorities, was made 
applicable to all 'Irakis. Other important reforms 
have been effected through the device of "obligatory 
bequests" and the principle of representation succes- 
sion (see section iv, below). Further minor reforms 
were introduced in Egypt (1943) and Syria following 
the adoption of the per capita doctrine. 

iv. Unlike the traditional formalities, Egypt 
(1946), Syria, Tunisia (1956) and c Irak (1959) made 
it obligatory to prove bequests by documentary 
evidence; the age of capacity for making a bequest has 
been raised in those countries and also in India and 
Pakistan; both Egypt and Syria permit bequests in 
favour of legatees not yet born at the time of the 
testator's death; they also adopt a more restrictive 
attitude as to stipulations which the testator may 
impose with regard to the conduct of a beneficiary. 

One of the most significant reforms departing from 
the Sunni philosophy of succession is the rule, so far 
adopted only by the Sudan (1945), Egypt (1946) and 
c Irak, that a bequest in favour of a legal heir is no 
longer ultra vires provided it does not exceed the 
"bequeathable third". This rule fits in with the Shfi 
doctrine. Syria has merely permitted a testator validly 
to apportion particular items of his estate to his heirs 
within the value of their shares in the inheritance 

Tunisia (1956) adopted a very bold innovation (as 
regards Malik! law) by permitting a person who leaves 
no heir to bequeath the whole of his estate notwith 
standing the succession rights of the Treasury c Irak 
(1959), on the other hand^ enacted that the state was 
the sole heir under such circumstances. 

The absence of the principle of representation, 
which under traditional law resulted in the total exclu 
sion of orphaned grandchildren from the estate by any 
surviving son of the grandparent, has been remedied 
In Egypt (1946), Syria, Morocco, Tunisia (1959) and 
Jordan it has been circumvented by the device of the 
"obligatory bequest" to orphaned grandchildren of 
what their deceased parent would have inherited had 
he (in Egypt and Tunisia, he or she) survived, pro- 
vided that it does not exceed the "bequeathable 
third". Pakistan has solved the problem by adopting 
a comprehensive system of representation. 

v. In Egypt (1943), Syria and Tunisia (1956 with 
minor variations), but not in c Irak (1963) as far as the 
Sunnis are concerned, deliberate homicide 



, homicide constitutes an impediment to 
inheritance only if it amounts to a criminal offence 
Difference of religion has ceased to be a bar to sue 
cession in British India (1850) and, following this 
lead, in Tanganyika (1923, 1947) and Nyasaland 
(1929), but not in the Middle East. It has never been 

a bar to the validity of a bequest. Apostasy is no 
longer a capital offence, but it is still a bar to 
inheritance, except in India and Pakistan (1850). 

In Egypt (1943), difference of domicile is no longer 
a bar to inheritance between non-Muslim — and in 
Syria also Muslim— relatives unless the law of the 
non-Muslim state bars foreigners from inheriting 
from its nationals. The principle of reciprocity, in 
cases of difference of religion and nationality, has 
been extended to testamentary succession in Egypt 
(1946), Syria, Tunisia (1956) and 'Irak (1959). 

vi. Since the Sunni will is subject to the ultra aires 
doctrine, the family wakf has become the chief instru- 
ment for circumventing the law of inheritance: 
Kur'anic heirs are almost totally excluded from the 
estate; entitlement is transmitted according to the 
principle of representation; preference is given to 
agnates over cognates; the female in every generation 
benefits but may not transmit her share in the entitle- 
ment to her descendants. 

Under these circumstances, Egypt (1946) and 
Lebanon (1947) have introduced the "obligatory 
entitlement" of legal heirs, equal to their rights of 
inheritance, to any wakf in excess of one-third of the 
estate, the purpose being to bring the wakf into greater 
conformity with the law of testate and intestate succes- 
sion. The family wakf was reduced to two series of 
beneficiaries and finally abolished altogether in 
Egypt, Syria and Tunisia [see wakf]. 
Though some of the changes 

e of c< 


ievement has been the nr 
fact of codification. Some countries have effected 
revolutionary reforms, to the extent of complete 
equality of men and women and of agnates and 
cognates. But this legislation is a complete departure 
from the shari^a. It was brought about by adopting 
comprehensive systems of succession of European 
origin. The Ottoman Law of Succession, 1913, of 
German origin, at first applicable only to miri pro- 
perty, was adopted in Palestine (1923), Israel (1951, 
with the inclusion of mulk and movables) and c Irak 
(1959-63). The Israeli Law of Succession, 1965, is 
applicable only in the civil courts. The Somalian 
Family Law, 1975, in inspired by Marxist ideology. 
Bibliography: N.J. Coulson, Succession in the 
Muslim family, Cambridge 1971; idem, Reform of 
family law in Pakistan, in SI, vii (1956), 135-55; 
J N D. Anderson, Islamic law in the modern world, 
London 1959, ch. 4; idem, Law reform in the Muslim 
world London 1976, see Index, arts, "bequests" 
and succession" and bibl. in n. 148; idem, Recent 
reforms in the Islamic law of inheritance, in The Interna- 
tional and Comparative Law Quarterly, xiv (1965), 349- 
65 J Schacht, An Introduction to Islamic law, 2nd 
impression, Oxford 1966, ch. 23 with important 
bibl to chs. 14, 15, 23; I. Mahmud, Muslim law of 
succession and administration, Karachi 1958; D. Pearl, 
■1 ttxtbook on Muslim law, London 1979, ch. 8; J. 
Roussier, Dispositions nouoelles dans le statut successoral 
en droit tumsien, in SI, xii (1960), 131-44; A. Layish, 
Worrun and Islamic law in a non-Muslim state, 
Jeiusalem and New York 1975, ch. 9; idem, The 
Maliki family waqf according to wills and waqfiyyat, in 
BSOAS, xlvi/1 (1983), 1-32; idem, The family waqf 
and the sharH law of succession, in G. Baer and G. 
Gilbar (eds.), Social and economic aspects of the Muslim 
uaqf (forthcoming); Muhammad Abu Zahra, 
Ahkam al-Tarikat wa 'l-mawdrith, Cairo 1963; 
Husayn Muhammad Makhluf, al-Mawdrith fi 7- 
shcaFa al-islamiyya, erd ed., [Cairo] 1958; Badran 
Abu 'l-<Aynayn Badran, al-Mirdth wa 'l-wasiyya wa 




ana ua wasayaj . ,. ,^ ^^ 

MIRATH (old Anglicised spelling Meerut), (i) a 
district in the modern province of Uttar Pradesh, 
India, immediately to the north-east of Dihll, and 
entirely within the Djamna-Ganges do'ab. Its prin- 
cipal towns are MIrath city itself; Sardhana (the chief 
residence of the Begam Samru, widow ol the adven- 
turer Walter Reinhardt called "Sombre"; see 
samru); Ghazlabad; Bafnawa; and Hapur, an impor- 
tant grain market, (ii) Mirafh city (29°0'N.. 
77°43'E.), a town of considerable antiquity. 

The city was the site of a pillar of Ashok'a, one of 

icntioned by the Chinese travellers Fa-hsien (4th 
entury) and Hsiian-tsang (7th century), there had 
robably been an early decay of Buddhist influence. 

Hindu ruler 

of Bara 



nally su 

rounded by 

and a wall wi 

gates were a 

dded i 

Muslim tim 

as the fc 

Dm tht 

Dor Radjpu 

ts b 


tb al-D 

Aybak in 588/1192 

using this ar 

d th 

• for 

of Bar 

from which 

throw the G 


and make h 

is assa 

alt on Dihli. MTra 

h re 

Muslim con 

trol th 

ough the earl 

e ot Di 

of sev 

ral iktd c ddrs ." 

ed by t 


dj, c IsamT, 


ces of the M 

ader Ta 

mashfrln w 

atcd at Mira 


the city had 


There see 


in Mughal 

imes: the fort is me 


d in 

Akbarl. Mi 

at'h was briefly a 


r m 

nt und 

mosque by Humayun; a couple of dargahs, of Abu Ya 
Muhammad Khan ( 1 039/ 1 629) and Abu Muhammac 
Khan (1099/1688); the makbara of Shah Pir o 
1038/1628 erected by the order of Nur Djahan. a re< 
sandstone bulding with the characteristic wide lour 
centred Mughal arch (photograph in Meerut gazetteer 
UP Govt., Lucknow 1963); the presence of a karbald 

Shl c a settlement had taken place In the earl; 

ind made 

area, and there was some i 

dustry in 

igo-proeessing and in the m. 


-ibswool idmld blankets; but 

iir Shah [<?.;. |, 1152/1739, th 
nd by the early vers of the 

e land lei 

siderable gain in British pre- 


Dihli, 18f 

MIrath (a tactical mistake, according to P. Spear, 
Twilight oftheMughah. OUP India 1973, 1+5, in that 
Dihli itself was not strongly garrisoned and held). 

towns in Upper India. The events of 1857, when the 
mutiny of the Bengal armv started in MIrath, leading 
to the final loss of all power by the ruling Mughal 
house, do not concern us here. Manv Muslims 
migrated to Pakistan after Partition in 1947, 


y 20%, 

a Mus 

siderable antiquity, which have been but poorly des- 
cribed, and no photographs are available. The Djami c 
mosque, on the site of a former Buddhist temple, is 
said to have been erected in 410/1019 by Hasan 
Mahdi, a wazir of Mahmud of Ghaznl; the dargdh of 
Makhdum Shah Wilayat in the reign of Shihab al-DTn 
(-Mu'izz al-Dfn) Ghurl; and the makbara of Salar 
Mas'ud by Kutb al-DIn Aybak at the end of the 


renotaphs in c 


,, of 

3 have 

looked at them to see: MIrath, although only some 40 
miles from Dihli, seems to have been 'badly served by 
archaeologists. Other buildings within the district 
include the Begam Samru's palace (Dilkusha Kot'hi) 
of 1822. at Sardhana; at Bafnawa, on a (pre-Muslim) 
mound south of the town, are the dargdhs of Badr al- 
Dfn Shah and Shah c Ala 5 al-DIn (undescribed) and 
the makbara of Pir Sarwar, Persian inscr. dated 948 
(= 1541-2). 

Bibliography: There are sporadic references to 
MIrath city and district in Minhadj-i Siradj Djuz- 

al-DInBarani, TaMkh-i Flrilz Shdhi; lbn Battuta; 


of th 

, Mee 

the Utt; 

ih Government, 1963. Useful account of cii 

istrict under the latter Mughals in Perciv 

Twilight of the Mughah, Cambridge 195 

OUP " " 

i -MIRBAD, the n 

l. Fiihr 

, The 

; of the} 

q.v.] which 
of souther 

n c Ir 

3ugh situated 
that town as 

ng of the 


ically Arabic 

term could 

be a 

noun of place 

from the 

e me 

amng of "to 

id could th 

s de 

ip, and ih 


y extension, 

which it has at Medina (see 
d LA s.v.; al-MakdisI, at Bad' 
, iv. 80) suggests one, which 

rampart built in 155/771-2 bv Abu Dja c far al- 
Mansur (al-Taharf, iii, 473-4) left it outside the town, 
since Basra developed westwards in the normal 


its original character, became transformed into a 
flourishing suburb, which was connected by a wide 
street, along which lay buildings and which was 

the town's centre and the port along the river (al- 
Furda). Whilst the Mirbad formed a market where 
the Bedouins came to sell their camels and sheep and 
a halting-place for the caravans which raised up 
clouds of dust, it appears that merchandise was for- 
warded via this street, intensifying an economic 
activity which had very quickly made necessary the 
construction, on the fringes of the market, of shops 
and workshops (such as those of the tanners on the 
desert side; see al-Taban, i, 3120). 

Since the first c Abbasid governors of Basra had no 
suitable residence at their disposal, Sulayman b. C A1T, 
who was governor 133-9/781-6, went and took up his 
residence in the Mirbad (al-Baladhurl, Futuh, 349; 
Yakut, i, 643-4), an act which inevitably came to 
modify the appearance and the functions of the area, 
since other dwellings were now built. It was Dja c far b. 
Sulayman (governor ca. 176/792-3) who is said to 
have uttered this memorable saying: " c Irak is the 
heart (lit. "eye", '■ayn) of the world, Basra is the heart 
of c Irak, the Mirbad is the heart of Basra, and my 
house is the heart of the Mirbad" (al-Djahiz, Bulddn, 
ed. Pellat 196, ed. S. al- c AlT, 498, ed. Harun, RasPil, 
iv, 139; Pellat, Milieu, 1 1 and refs. cited there). In the 
shadow of this dwelling, which must therefore have 
been in the southeastern part of the tract, the lizards' 
market (suk al-dibdb) was held, which attracted the per- 
sons who loved these reptiles as delicacies (al-Djahiz, 
Hayawan, vi, 78), whilst behind it lay the house of Abu 
'Arnr b. al-'Ala' (al-Djahiz, Baydn, i, 321). 

This famous philologist (d. ca. 154/770 [q.u.]) was 
thus right on the spot for making linguistic enquiries 
from his informants, Bedouins who were either pass- 
ing through or who had been recently sedentarised. It 
was in effect at this place that, during the very first 
centuries of Islam, a good part of the Arabic 
vocabulary was recorded, that the grammatical doc- 
trines adopted by the Basran school were formulated 
and, in a more general fashion, that the "Arab 
humanities" were put together, since the poetical and 
historical traditions on which they were based were in 
major part gathered there. In this connection, al- 
Djahiz, in a well-known passage of his Baydn (iv, 23), 
notes the diversity of the texts gathered from their 
informants (ruwdt) by those enquirers installed either 
at the Mirbad (the Mirbadiyyun) or in the Friday 
mosque (the Masdjidiyyun), and stresses the variations 

It was also there that, at an early date, poets whose 
talent posterity was subsequently to recognise, 
notably Djarir and al-Farazdak (or also Dhu '1- 
Rumma; see Ibn Khakan, KaldHd, Tunis 1386/1966, 
32; idem, Matmah, Beirut 1404/1983, 57), came to 
declaim their works and to engage in contests which 
delighted and informed a public of good judges. Al- 
Djahiz, in his Hayawan (vi, 239), informs us that Abu 
Nuwas himself used to come early in the morning to 
the Mirbad with his writing-tablet in the hope of 
meeting there some Bedouin who could communicate 
to him some vocabulary and some verses, and he was 
probably not the only person to adopt this course. 
Each poet or orator who was well-known had a special 
reserved place around which a regular group of 
hearers formed an attentive circle, one which was 
always ready to show its approval or its criticisms. In 
the absence of an official educational system, the Mir- 
bad thus formed a kind of public educational 
establishment where not only philologists and poets 

presided but also traditionists, muhaddithun, who 
thereby earned through their assiduous attendance the 
nisba of al-Mirbadl (see Yakut, iv, 484-5, and al- 
Sam c anl, Ansab, ed. Hyderabad, xii, 180-1, who men- 
tion several with this name). 

spectacle which was offered to Basrans of an enquiring 
and observant nature by "the motley crowd of 
Bedouins and city-dwellers who busied themselves 
with their affairs, gave judgements in poetic contests 
or slipped themselves into the circles which grew up 
around scholars. It was probably there also [that one] 
could be present at performances of snake charmers 
and mountebanks of all kinds" (Pellat, Milieu, 245). 
The chief of the c Abd al-Kays, al-Djarud b. Abi 
Sabra, summed up in his own way the advantages of 
the Mirbad in strongly advising people to go there, 
since, he said (Baydn, i, 345), "it gives one ideas, 
clarifies one's vision, provides items of information 
and brings together Rabi'a and Mudar." 

It is a fact that the Mirbad was rarely the theatre for 
fights between different tribes or factions of Basra, 
and the confrontations which are mentioned do not 
seem to have been bloody. In 64/683, after the killing 
of Mas c ud b. c Amr al- c Ataki, who had been appointed 
governor over the town by c Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, the 
combattants were prepared to fight there, but the pay- 
ing out of the blood-price prevented the situation from 
deteriorating (version of al-Mubarrad, in Kdmil, i, 
121 ff.; cf. al-Tabarl, ii, 454; al-Baladhurl, Ansab, 
ivB, 98; NakdHdDiarir wa 1-Farazdak, 731). In 81 or 
82/701-2, an episode in the struggle between al- 
Hadjdjadj and Ibn al-Ash/ath [q.vv. ] took place at the 
Mirbad, but of this, historical accounts have primarily 
preserved a speech of the rebel's (Baydn, ii, 155). Con- 
cerning the revolt of Ibrahim b. c Abd Allah (145/762 
mtioned in al-Djahiz' "" 




e unknc 

The decline of Basra, which began to be apparent 
from the beginning of the 3rd/9th century, does not 
seem gravely to have affected the Mirbad, where the 

which h 

s farm 

still retained a certain vitality for a long time after- 
wards. Although this suburb was one of the points 
through which the Zandj [q.v.) attacked Basra in 
257/871 and the place where they committed incen- 
diary acts and pillaging (see A. Popovic, La revolte des 
esclaves en Iraq au III' Steele, Paris 1976, 99), the rebels' 
depredations did not stop it from continuing to play 
its former role, as is particularly illustrated by the 
example of the baker-poet al-Khubza'aruzzi (d. 327- 
938 [?.».]), whose shop was the place where a group 
of admirers met. It is even possible that this state of 
affairs lasted for several centuries, since Yakut (d. 
626/1229) describes the Mirbads as forming in his 
time a kind of island in the midst of the desert, whilst 
the street which had formerly linked it with the town 
centre and the port was now, for the whole three miles 
of its length, nothing but a field of ruins. 

Bibliography: In addition to works mentioned in 
the text, see Le Strange, Lands, 45; S.A. al- c Ali, al- 
Tanzimdt al-idjlimdHyya wa 'l-iktisddiyya fi 'l-Basra, 
Baghdad 1953, index; O. Scemama, Le role du Mir- 
bad de Bassora dans le conservatisme poeiique jusqu 'au 
debut du III' siecles, in IBLA, xx (1957), 369-79; Ch. 
Pellat, al-Didhiz wa 'l-Mirbad, to appear. 

(Ch. Pellat) 
al-MIRBAT (a. "place of securing, tying up, i.e. 
anchorage), a port of the South Arabian coast in 
Zufar [q.v.] (Dhofar), lying in 17°00'N. and 
54°41'E., some 40 miles/70 km east of the modern 
town of Salala [q.v.] in the Sultanate of Oman. Yakut, 


Bulddn, Beirut 1374-6/1955-7, v, 97, describes it as 
being five farsakhs from the town of Zufar (i.e. the 
modern al-Balid) and as the only port of the coast of 
the region of Zufar; it had an independent sultan, and 
its hilly hinterland produced frankincense [see 
luban). In the early 19th century, its ruler was a cor- 
sair chief, Muhammad b. c Akfl, and the ruins of a fort 
built by him in 1806 were mentioned by J.G. Lorimer 
as still visible (Gazetteer of the Persian Gulf, 'Oman and 
Central Arabia, Calcutta 1908-15, IIB Geographical and 
statistical, 1274-5). The population of the anchorage, 
well sheltered from the north-east monsoon, includes 
a high proportion of sayyids, and a notable feature of 
the place today is the shrine of Muhammad b. C A1I, 
Sahib Mirbdt, ancestor of the B5 c Alawi [q.v.\ Husaynf 
sayyids of Hadramawt; see G. Oman, The burial stelae 
of Muhammad «SShib Mirbat», in Studia turcologica 
memoriae Alexii Bombaci dicata, Naples 1982, 397-401. 
Bibliography: Given in the article. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 
MIRDAS, Banu or MIRDASIDS, an Arab 
dynasty of KilabI origin, founded by Salih b. 
Mirdas. The latter and some of his descendants were, 
on several occasions between 415/1024 and 473/1080, 
either tolerated or recognised as princes of Aleppo. In 
succession to the Hamdanids, they maintained a 
tradition of autonomy in northern Syria, thanks to the 
tacit protection of the Byzantine Empire, which they 
accepted in order to ward off pressure from the Buyids 
" Baghdad and the Fatimids of Egypt. He 



:o launch 

iously, , 


tal attack, in general vict 

laden Byzantine army and notably on the nearby gar- 
rison of Antioch, under Christian domination until 
477/1084. The Turkish seizure of the region after 
463/1071 was harsher for the Muslim Arabs than it 
was for the Christians. 

From the Umayyad period, among the Kays tribes 
of Syria, the Banu Kilab occupied an original place, 
both on account of their military ability and their wish 
to participate in maintaining order and administering 
the regions in which they lived. In 215/830, it was a 
mawld of Kilab whom the caliph al-Ma'mun 
designated as kadi of Aleppo. In 328/939, the Ikhshld 
Muhammad b. Tughdj chose Abu 'l- c Abbas Ahmad 
b. Sa c id al-Kilabi as governor of Aleppo. The Kilab 
of Nadjd then flooded into northern Syria and took 

of Ma< 

il-Nu c rr 

333/944 the Ikhshid appointed Ahmad t 
his brother Abu '1-Fath c Uthman to Aleppo, provok- 
ing the jealousy of the other Kilab chiefs who asked 
Sayf al-Dawla to come and install himself in Aleppo. 
c Uthman greeted Sayf al-Dawla and, sitting by his 
side in his ^ammariyya, he presented him, village by 
village, with the country that he knew perfectly. The 
Kilab fought alongside the c Ukayl, Kalb and Numayr 
in the Hamdanid ranks against the Ikhshld Ibn 
Tughdj in 335/946. 

In association with other tribes belonging to Kays, 
c Amir b. Sa c sa c a, c Ukayl, Numayr,_ Kushayr, 
Kinana, c Adjlan and Ka c b b. Rab^a b. c Amir, in the 
4th/ 10th century the Kilab held the Syrian steppe 
lying between the loop of the Euphrates and the 
Aleppo-Kinnasrin-Hamat-Hims highway, while 
tribes of Yemeni origin, such as the Kalb, held sway 
further south over the Rahba-Tadmur-Hims- 
Damascus route. The Arab tribes of Syria, who were 
experiencing considerable demographic growth and 
were hit by the rise in grain prices, were susceptible 
to Karmati propaganda denouncing the wealth of the 
urban Sunnl population and the luxury of the 
pilgrimage caravans. In northern Syria, the Arab 

Ma c a 

rat al-Nu c 

waded the cultiv. 
i, Har 

d Salan 


wood for fuel and tc 
flocks. Despite these exactions, their integration in the 
region was easy, for they shared the Shi ! sympathies 
of the local population. 

Sayf al-Dawla [q.v.] the Hamdanid prince of 
Aleppo, succeeded, thanks to his light cavalry, in con- 
taining these attacks and repulsing the Bedouin in the 
steppe; by destroying their encampments and filling 
up their wells, he forced most of the tribes to cross the 
Euphrates and seek refuge in the Djazira. Kilab seems 
to have been the only tribe authorised to stay in the 
Aleppo region. Sayf al-Dawla was then able to devote 
himself to the defence of the <gund of KinnasrTn and 
the western Djazira against the Byzantine threat. 

Sayf al-Dawla had just granted aman to the Kilab 
when he died in 356/967. The Byzantines profited 
from his death to occupy Antioch in 358/969, and the 
Fatimids, who were installing themselves in Egypt, in 
360/971 led a short-lived expedition into northern 
Syria. The power of Sa c d al-Dawla, Sayf al-Dawla's 
son, was even contested by his ghulams. However, the 
peripheral position of the principality of Aleppo, at a 
distance from the three principal power centres of the 
Baghdad, Cairo and Constantinople, allowed the 


e for; 


pearance of its founder. The Kilab tc 

oppositing the Hamdanid princes and their 
petitors. In the event of victory, they expected their 
ally to award them iktd's [q.v.] for their personal use. 
Ibn al-Kalanisi mentions some Kilab warriors in the 
army of Bakdjur who, in 381/991, confronted Sa c d al- 
Dawla's army near Aleppo. As for the prince of 
Aleppo, he was accompanied by a contingent of 500 
elite soldiers of the c Amr b. Kilab. Before the 
emergence of the Mirdas family, the Kilab Arabs in 
Syria already represented an organised military force, 
with powerful cavalry trained in mounted swordman- 
ship and not fearing to confront a government army 
on the field of battle. While other tribes were happy 
to give themselves up to pillage with consequences as 
damaging for the Bedouin as for the sedentary 


, the 

) gain i 

> the 

ipating in the i 
maintaining order characterised the political goal of 
the Kilab until the end of the 5th/llth century. 

The history of Salih b. Mirdas and his descendants 
is relatively well-known. The three principal sources 
are the Egyptian historian al-Musabbihi (d. 
420/1029), whose chronicle has only come down to us 
for 414-15/1023-4; another historian who was also 
Egyptian, but Christian and resident in Antioch, 
Yahya b. Sa c id, whose chronicle is preserved up to 
425/1034; and finally the historian of Aleppo Kamal 
al-Dm Ibn al- c Adim, who, although he died in 
660/1262 devotes numerous pages of his chronological 
history as well as those of his biographical dictionary 
of the city of Aleppo to the exploits of the Kilab. 
Indeed, three of his ancestors had successively held 
the post of kadi of Aleppo for some fifty years in the 
5th/llth century. Ibn al- c Adim was very sensitive to 
the legend which idealised several Mirdasid princes. 
According to his accounts, they, following the exam- 
ple of Sayf al-Dawla, were amirs in the noblest Arab 
tradition, strong and courageous, expe 
of adab as well as in those of war, u; 
blades, mounting the noblest horses an 
the most beautiful women in the East. 1 
admirable for devotion and political int< 

t in the skill; 
ng the finesl 

defend and to promote the political careers of their 

All the Arab historians who have dealt with this age 
have mentioned the role of the Mirdasids, who also 
appear in the accounts concerning Abu 'l-'Ala 5 al- 
Ma'arn and the daH al-Mu'ayyid li-DIn Allah (see M. 
Saleh, Abu l-'-Alp al-Ma c arri, bibliographic critique, in 
BEO, xxi [1969] and xxiii [1970], and Abu 'l^Ala 3 al- 
Ma c arri, L'epitre du pardon, Fr. tr. V.-M. Monteil, 
Paris 1984; idem, R. al-Sahil wa 'l-shdhidi, ed. Bint al- 
Shati 5 , Cairo 1975. See also al-ma c arri and other 
works of P. Smoor). 

The historian of the Mirdasids experiences some 
difficulties in identifying personalities. Indeed, a cer- 
tain number of isms borne by the Kilab, such as 
Thimal, Mukallad, Man? and Waththab. are from 
the Kays! tradition and recur in the allied or 
neighbouring tribes of Numayr, Kushayr, 'Ukayl, 
Asad and Kinana. When matrimonial alliances united 
these tribes, the younger sons often received the ism of 
the maternal grandfather or one of the mother's 
brothers. Similarly, the lakabs which the Banu Mirdas 
received or which they gave themselves could be con- 
fusing, for they made frequent allusion to their 
perseverance and temper by the use of the names of 
animals of the steppe, persistent and tenacious, dogs, 
wolves and wolf cubs, lions and lion cubs. Finally, at 

nisba (Kila'bi) with that of their neighbours (Kalbr). 

Salih b. Mirdas al-Kilabi appears in the texts as 
amir of Rahba in 399/1009. In that period, the Kilab 
were in firm control of the steppe of northern Syria. 
Lu'lu', the old Hamdanid ghulam who had usurped 
power at Aleppo, died in the same year; his son Mur- 
tada al-Dawla Mansur succeeded him and was 
recognised by the Fatimid Imam al-Hakim bi-amr 
Allah. The Byzantine Emperor Basil II then allowed 
the master of Diyar Bakr, Mumahhid al-Dawla 
Ahmad b. Marwan, to attempt to reinstall at Aleppo, 
with the help of the Kilab, a Hamdanid in the person 
of Abu 'l-Haydja' b. Sa c d al-Dawla. Fatimid 
diplomacy, supported by a military expedition which 
set out from Tripoli, caused the plan to miscarry by 
obtaining from the Kilab a disguised act of treason. In 
402/1011-12, the Fatimids attempted a Hamdanid 
restoration, in their turn, with the help of a grandson 
of Sa c d al-Dawla; an act of treachery by the Kilab also 
brought about the failure of this operation. Having 
saved Mansur b. Lu^lu 3 on two occasions by their 
inaction, the Kilab demanded from him the grant of 
iktdh in fertile regions to pasture their sheep and war 
horses. To rid himself of them, the master of Aleppo 
resorted to a well-known trick and invited a thousand 
Arab warriors to a feast; as soon as they were giddy 
with good cheer and drink, they were either 
massacred or thrown into the dungeons. Salih b. 
Mirdas figured among the number of the prisoners, 
and was subjected to the roughest treatment by Mur- 
tada al-Dawla Mansur, who seized from him his 
splendid sabre and forced him to repudiate to his 
advantage his wife Tarud, the most beautiful woman 
of the age. But in 405/1014 Salih managed to escape 
by acrobatic means. Some days later, having 
recovered his sabre, he raised an army, hastily levied 
in Aleppo, bringing together professional ghulams, 
roughs and Christian and Jewish citizens. The 
dhimmis were massacred and the warriors, including 
Murtada al-Dawla, were captured. 

Tough negotiations took place between §alih b. 
Mirdas, whose brothers were captives in the citadel, 
and the representatives of the people of Aleppo, whose 
master was in the hands of the Kilab. Mansur 

repudiated Tarud, promised §alih the hand of his 
daughter and a very heavy ransom, and above all 
agreed to hand over to the Kilab half of the fiscal 
revenues of the principality of Aleppo. After he was 
freed, he only partially kept his promises. The lands 
around Aleppo were therefore ravaged by the Arabs 
who had been deceived, while there were mutterings 
of revolt in the town. Fearing betrayal by Fath al- 
Kal c I, the governor of the citadel, Mansur fled to the 
nearby Byzantine territory, where in 406/1016 he 
received a fief and built a fortress. 

Salih showed his good sense after his victory. He 
arranged to have join Mansur the wives and 
daughters whom he had forgotten in Aleppo in his 
hasty flight, only deflowering the one who had been 
promised to him. He obtained from the Byzantines, at 
first hostile towards him, the maintenance of the com- 
mercial traffic across the region that he controlled. He 
advised Fath, the new master of Aleppo, to respect the 
promises made by Mansur to the Kilab. However, 
despite his advice, negotiations were conducted with 
the Fatimids who, since the death of lbn Killis, had 
coveted northern Syria. The envoys of al-Hakim 
[q.v. } persuaded Fath to yield to them first the town 
and then the citadel. Salih b. Mirdas did not yet con- 
trol an adequate military force to drive out the Egyp- 

The new Fatimid governor c AzIz al-Dawla Fatik 
was given the citadel of Aleppo in 407/1017, and 
swiftly made himself an autonomous prince; as master 
of the city, he ceded control of the plain to the Kilab. 
Enjoying good relations with the Byzantines, he thus 
maintained peace in the region. Such independence 
was unacceptable to the Fatimids, and, in 413/1022, 
the regent Sitt al-Mulk, sister of the Imam al-Hakim, 
who had vanished, had Fatik assassinated and put two 
Fatimid officials in charge of both the citadel and the 


i, Salih 

■r this a 

:t Fatin 

s, who at 

trolled Rahba, Rakka, Balis, Manbidj and 
Rafaniyya, found allies among the Kalb of central 
Syria and the Tayyi 5 of Transjordan, who were very 
hostile to the Fatimids. From 390/1000 onwards, 
violent movements in Western Asia and North Africa 
were stirring up not only Kaysi and Yemeni Arab 
tribes, but also nomadic groups of Berbers and even 
disbanded black military slaves, driven to despair by 
the rise in prices and the scarcity of grain. The 
nomads, threatened by famine, resorted to violence in 
order to gain access to the cultivated lands. 

In the spring of 1024, the death of Sitt al-Mulk, 
while Egypt was entering a serious corn crisis, 
brutally interrupted a planned rapprochement with 
the Byzantines, who resumed an offensive action to 
the south of Antioch. In the months that followed, the 
majority of Fatimid officials of proven authority 
posted in Syria were replaced by barely competent 
newcomers. In the reign of al-Hakim, and then under 
the regency of Sitt al-Mulk, the Arab tribes of Syria 
had already contemplated an alliance to chase out the 
Fatimid army. The Byzantine Basil II, made aware of 
the plan, was opposed to it, an opposition which col- 
lapsed on the death of the Christian regent. During 
the summer of 415/1024, Salih b. Mirdas began 
hostilities in northern Syria and entered the town of 
Aleppo, which the former kd^id of Murtada al-Dawla, 
Salim b. Mustafad, surrendered to him. He entrusted 
to him the continuation of the siege of the citadel and 
the administration of the city to his secretary 
Sulayman b. Tawk; then he reached central Syria, 
besieged Ba c labakk and joined up with his allies, the 

KalbT Sinan b. c Ulayyan and the Ta'I Hassan b. al- 
Djarrah. He sent the first to attack Damascus and the 
second to attack Ramla. The diwdns of Cairo did not 
lend much support to the Turkish general Anushtigin 
al-Duzbari, who had been entrusted with the defence 
of Palestine. Distrusting him, they negotiated behind 
his back with the Tayyp who, at the same time, estab- 
lished secret alliances with the Banu Kurra of Libya 
so as to create a united front hostile to the Fatimids 
from Aleppo to Tripoli in North Africa. 

Ramla was pillaged and burnt by Ibn al-Djarrah, 
but then al-Duzban regained the military advantage 
in Palestine. Damascus, defended by its population 
and by the Fatimid army, repelled the Kalb. In the 
course of the year 415/1024-5, the population of 
Aleppo opened its gales to the Kilab. The Fatimid 
garrison defended itself for some time in the citadel, 
taking advantage of the misgivings of the city's 
Muslims over the Byzantine sympathies of Ibn 


. Unde 

nining k 

le well which supplied the citadel with water and, 
in Djumada I 416/June 1025, the Kilab finally gained 
access to it. Salih b. Mirdas was in central Syria at 

months later. He allowed the Fatimid daH and gover- 
nor of the town to go free, but had the military gover- 
nor of the citadel executed and immured the old kadi 
alive. His action had allowed him to include Aleppo 
and Hims in his domain of north Syria and to extend 
his rule in central Syria to Ba c labakk, Hisn (Ibn) 
c Akkar and Sayda. 

Having brought to success the plan which had 
guided his forebears for a century, Salih b. Mirdas 
gave to his principality the attributes of a mediaeval 
Islamic state, a fiscal apparatus, a vizier described as 

•vith the behaviour 





; and Syria 

rated Fatimid governor of Dam 
in 419/1028, could not tolerate Mirda 
the cities of central Syria while Hassan b. al-Djarrah 
continued to ravage Palestine. The Ta'T, having lost 
the aid of the Kalb since the death of Sinan b. 
c Ulayyan, appealed to Salih to defend Arab autonomy 
in Syria. The battle of al-Ukhuwana, on the eastern 
shore of Lake Tiberias in Rabl c II 420/May 1029, saw 
the total defeat of the tribes. The Banu '1-Djarrah took 
to flight, and Salih b. Mirdas and his younger son as 
well as his vizier, the Christian Tadrus b. al-Hasan, 
were killed. The body of Salih was nailed to the gate 
of the town of Sayda where he had enjoyed residing. 
Two very young sons of Salih, Shibl al-Dawla Nasr 
and Mu c izz al-Dawla Thimal, shared power in 
Aleppo, the first holding the city, the second the 
citadel. They abandoned central Syria, Hisn c Akkar, 
Ba c labakk, Hims and Rafaniyya and regrouped all 
their forces in the djund of Kinnasrm and to the west 
of Diyar Mudar. The Byzantine catapanus of Antioch, 
provoked by incidents which had brought the Chris- 
tians and Muslims of Ma c arrat al-Nu c man into con- 
flict in the time of Salih and by the construction of for- 
tresses by Muslim families in the coastal zone without 

them. Refusing all conciliation and without notifying 
the Emperor, he sent into battle an army which was 
wiped out by the Kilab at Kaybar in Djumada II 
420/July 1029. The reconstitution of a force capable 
of defeating the Byzantines in a pitched battle, two 
months after a total defeat in Palestine, demonstrates 
the rare military ability of this tribe, the importance 

even if the valour of this cavalry is explicable in part 
by the abundance in northern Syria of pasturage per- 
mitting the keeping of powerful war horses. The 

Romanus III was arriving with a powerful army to 
avenge his catapanus, the two brothers tried in vain to 
negotiate. Faced with the refusal of Romanus III to 
accept anything other than the surrender of Aleppo, 
they decided to fight again. A modest squadron of 
Arab cavalry inflicted in the heat of Sha'ban 421/July 
1030 near c Azaz a memorable defeat on the huge 
Byzantine coalition. The booty was considerable; 
their allies, the Numayr, seized 300 mules loaded with 

In this period, Nasr b. Salih seized the citadel 
during the absence of his brother and became the sole 

popular although he was a Christian. The latter, with 
the help of his brother, presided over the urbanisation 
of the town's suburbs which were bursting out from 
the confines of its walls and had a mosque built there 
to facilitate the integration of the newly-settled 
population, who were very hostile to the non- 
Muslims. By relying on the old Aleppo citizens and 
using trickery and cold-blooded violence, Nasr had 
quelled a dangerous revolt. Salim b. Mustafad, ra Hs of 
the town and mukaddam al-ahdath [see ahdath], from 
his house in the glassmakers' souk, was preaching 
hatred of the Byzantines and had stirred up the rab- 
ble; he was caught and put to death. 

In Djumada I 422/April-May 1031 , in order to pro- 
tect himself against a possible attack from his brother 
Thimal, Nasr concluded peace with the Byzantines. 


<t desci 

n detaf 


which demonstrated the rapprochement between the 
two parties as well as embodying the clauses of the 
treaty. Recognising the protection exercised by the 
Byzantines over his principality, Nasr undertook to 
pay them 500,000 dirhams annually. The following 
year, together with the new catapanus of Antioch, the 
eunuch Nikita, he mounted an expedition to exter- 
minate the Hakimf Druzes who had become 
numerous in the Djabal Summak. He did not stand in 
the way of Nikita at all when the latter occupied or 
rased in a few months' time the fortifications built, 
without the approval of Romanus III, by some 
autonomous Muslim families on the slope of Djabal 
Bahra' to the east of Baniyas and Latakya. He allowed 
the Tayyp to pass in their mass emigration from 
southern Syria into Byzantine territory. Romanus III 
was wanting to use them to put pressure on al- 
Duzban and obtain from the Fatimids the renewal of 
the traditional decennial truce suspended since 
415/1024. Nasr b. Salih did not intercede either on 
behalf of his allies of Numayr, who had to cede to the 
Byzantines some places in the Djazira. He behaved in 
every respect as a vassal of the Emperor. 

Al-Duzbari, disturbed by the presence of the Banu 
'1-Djarrah close to Antioch, was unable to accept the 
alignment of Nasr b. Salih with Byzantium. He made 

the Kilab notables against Mirdasid preponderance. 
Being increasingly repulsed, the Fatimid governor of 
Syria had spread in the region a call to dphad. Nikita 
replied that he was ready to defend the Byzantine ter- 
ritory but also prepared to negotiate a new truce. Nasr 
b. Salih was afraid of being sacrificed for an agree- 
ment between Constantinople and Cairo, and sent an 
envoy to the Byzantine capital, bearing a hair of John 
the Baptist, a venerable relic, henceforth preserved in 
the Palace of the Basileus. The Numayr of Djazira, 

badly situated for a new Byzantine campaign, Ibn 
Marwan, the master of Diyar Bakr ([see marwanids], 
the Banu '1-Djarrah and the Kalb, also made for Con- 
stantinople in order to take part in the conference 
which was to decide the fate of the borders between 
the Muslim and Christian domains in northern Syria 
and Djazlra. 

The negotiations lasted for nearly four years. 
Romanus III died in 425/1034 and Michael IV 
replaced him. The truce was not definitely concluded 
until 429/1038-9. Among the numerous points which 
were discussed, one concerned Nasr b. Salih, who had 
straight away given allegiance to Romanus III and 
claimed a royal Byzantine dignity which would 
distinguish him from the mere tribal leaders. 
Romanus III seized this opportunity to have Aleppo 
included in a specific treaty, apart from the treaty 
which he was proposing to the Fatimids. Al-Zahir 
refused to see Aleppo, a noble Islamic frontier post, 
figuring in the Byzantine domain (hawz). After the 
death of Romanus III, Michael IV was more con- 
ciliatory, and advised Nasr b. Salih to recognise his 
allegiance to the Fatimids, but since Yahya's text for 
this period is lacking, we do not know the details of the 

The periphery of the Syrian steppe was held by 
dynasties who all, with the exception of the Marwanid 
Kurds [see marwanids] of Diyar Bakr, were descen- 
dants of Kays tribes. The chiefs of Numayr spread out 
their castles over the territory of Harran and Edessa 
to the north-east of that of Kilab; the region of 
Mawsil, to the south-east of Marwanid Diyar Bakr, 
was administered by Kirwash b. Mukallad, a prince 
of c Ukayl; further south, the Asad of Dubays b. C A1I 
b. Mazyad controlled the outlet into Mesopotamia of 
the Tigris and Euphrates, disputing their territory 
with the Khafadja who were regrouping, even further 
south, on the west bank of the Euphrates towards 
Kufa. The degree to which each of these chieftainships 
reached the level of actual states was very pro- 
blematical, and the Mirdasids were among the most 
favourable towards traditional Islamic urban institu- 
tions. This choice of theirs contrasted with that of 
other tribes in southern Syria and Egypt, who were 
more given to pillage than to administration. 

The head of the diwdn in Cairo, al-DjardjaraT 
[q. d. ], distrusted al-Duzbarl and looked favourably on 
the action of Nasr b. Mirdas. The latter made a gift 
to al-^ahir of the booty gathered at the time of the bat- 
tle of c Azaz, and was authorised to annex Hims to his 
principality, and his lakab was inflated. The governor 
of Hims, Dja c far b. Kulayd al-Kutami, claimed the 
help of al-Duzbarl, who could not accept a destabilis- 
ing encroachment of the Kilab in a region tradi- 
tionally Yemeni. He wrote to the Byzantines asking 
them for authorisation to relieve them of Nasr, who 
had just married the daughter of Shablb b. Wa thth ab. 
their enemy, the Numayri prince of Harran. The 
alliance between the Mirdasids and Numayr, added 
to a possible seizure of Hims, would have given this 
Arab coalition control of all the lowland roads 
between 'Irak and the Mediterranean or Byzantine 
world. Without waiting for agreement to come from 
Cairo, al-Duzbarl and Ibn Kulayd set out for the 
north. At Tall Fas, near Latmm, in Sha c ban 429/May 
1038, Nasr b. Salih was killed and his brother Thimal 
fled to Aleppo in the company of Shablb b. Wa thth ab 

Thimal set off again with his brother's children, 
while ShabTb b. Wa thth ab took along his sister, 
Nasr's widow. Mukallad b. Kamil b. Mirdas was 
holding the citadel. When al-Duzbarl entered the 

town of Aleppo in Ramadan 429/June 1038, he was 
well received by the population, who was still hostile 
to the alliance between the Mirdasids and Byzantium. 
Mukallad negotiated his own departure and was able 
to carry off an important part of the citadel's treasure. 
Al-Duzbarl attacked Thimal's principality, capturing 
Balis and Manbidj but failing before Rahba. 

In 431/1039-40, ShabTb b. Waththab al-Numayri 
died and was replaced by his brother Muta c in. Their 
sister, the Numayri princess al-Sayyida al- c Alawiyya, 
Nasr's widow, received Rafika-Rakka which she 
gave, with the middle Euphrates, to her new husband, 
her brother-in-law Thimal b. Salih. Al-Duzbarl, still 
in his post at Damascus, then acquired Kal c at 
Dawsar, the future Kal'at Dja'bar, in order to protect 
Aleppo against an attempt at a Mirdasid restoration, 
and against the advice of Cairo began a rapproche- 
ment with the Marwanid ruler in Mayyafarikln . 

The Byzantines broke the truce in 431 or 432/1039- 
41 and attacked northern Syria with some success, 
obtaining from Thimal b. Salih and his cousin 
Mukallad offers of tribute or even of the sale of the 
town of Rakka. Al-Duzbarl tried to play a game of his 
own by relying on the Banu Dja c far section of the 
Kilab, settled in the Mudik of Apamea and hostile to 
the Banu Mirdas as well as to the Byzantines. The 
tension between Cairo and al-Duzbarl intensified. 
The vizier al-Djardjara'I had the military governor of 
Damascus and Fatimid Syria publicly condemned, 
whereupon the army of Syria abandoned its 
commander-in-chief. Accompanied by ten faithful 
ghuldms, al-Duzbarl took refuge in Aleppo. Al- 
Djardjara'T asked Thimal b. Salih to go and attack 
him, but this proved useless, for al-Duzbarl, in 
despair, died at Aleppo in Djumada I 433/January 
1042. The following month, after one or two spells of 
indecision, the citizens of Aleppo opened their gates to 
Mukallad and Thimal. The siege of the citadel in 
which the Fatimid ghuldms had taken refuge lasted for 
six months. 

Thimal's seizure of Aleppo had immediately been 
recognised by the Empress Theodora, who awarded 
him the title of magistros and that of patrician for his 
wife, and admitted into the imperial hierarchy six of 
his brothers, cousins and nephews. The development 
of commercial exchanges actually led to fierce com- 
petition between Muslim and Christian merchants, 
notably at Aleppo, where the Christians were better 
protected by a Mirdasid prince than by a Fatimid 
governor. In 436/1045, the year of the death of al- 
Djardjara 5 !, a diploma from al-Mustansir confirmed 
Thimal's investiture in Aleppo; however, relations 
remained strained, notably because the four to six 
hundred thousand dinars of al-Duzbarl seized in the 
citadel had only been partially returned to Cairo. In 
439/1047-48, the decennial truce was renewed by the 
Byzantines, who were confronting in Armenia and 
Trebizond the first Turcoman bands as well as an 
inciter to <&iha& near Ra's al- c Ayn. 

Nasir al-Dawla Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. 
Hamdan, governor of Damascus, and Ibn Kulayd, 
governor of Hims, attacked Aleppo in 440/1048. 
Thimal, at the head of several thousand men, resisted 
the great Fatimid army which, having lost its equip- 
ment and mounts in one night following the flooding 
of the Kuwayk river, retreated to Damascus. Thimal, 
worried about the outcome of events, negotiated suc- 
cessively with the Fatimid vizier Sadaka b. Yusuf al- 
Falahi, an Aleppo Jew, and after the latter's execu- 
tion, with another Jew, Abu Sa c d, official in charge of 
the private treasury, who was also executed. Once his 
cousin, Dja c far b. Kamil b. Mirdas, had killed Ibn 


1 I I 

1 I 

6. Nasr 

7. Sab 




n of the Banu Mirdas, Kilabi princes of Aleppo. 
The mother of Salih b. Mirdas was Rabab al-Rawkaliyya or al-Zawkaliyya. 
The mother of 'Afiyya was the beautiful Tarud. 

The mother of Mahmud b. Nasr was Mani'a al-Sayyida al- c Alawiyya, princess of Numayr. 
Nasr b. Mahmud's mother was the daughter of al-Malik al- c Aziz b. Djalal al-Dawla the Buwayhid. 
Man^a b. Mahmud b. Nasr married Muslim b. Kuraysh, an c Ukaylid prince and successor to the Mirdasids 
in Aleppo. 

Kulayd at Kafar Jab, a new military expedition on a 
grand scale was launched against Thimal, involving 
400,000 dinars and 30,000 men, and entrusted to the 
elderly eunuch Rifk. The Emperor Constantine IX, 
having proposed his mediation to the Fatimids in 
vain, sent two armies to keep a watch over northern 
Syria. Mukallad b. Kamil b. Mirdas destroyed the 
fortifications of Ma'arrat al-Nu c man and Hamat, and 
the Mirdasid troops assembled before Aleppo. The 
Fatimid army, in which there coexisted with great dif- 
ficulty regular soldiers, either Berbers, blacks or 
Turks, together with Kalbl and Djarrahl Bedouins, 
was wiped out on the Djabal Djawshin near Aleppo in 
Rabi* I 442/August 1050 by the ever-effective cavalry 
of the Kilab. Rifk, wounded, was taken prisoner and 
died with his mind unhinged three days later. Thimal. 
embarrassed by the unexpected scale of his victory, 
sent to Cairo his young son and his tireless wife, al- 
Sayyida al- c Alawiyya, whose political intelligence and 
pertinent remarks charmed the Fatimid Imam al- 
Mustansir [q.v.]; the latter recognised as being in fief 
to Thimal Aleppo and all the lands which he effec- 
tively held. 

From 442/1050 to 449/1057-8, Mu c izz al-Dawla 
Thimal administered his principality peacefully, with 
the help of his successive viziers, Abu '1-Fadl Ibrahim 
b. c Abd al-Karfm al-Anbari, then Fakhr al-Dawla 
Abu Nasr Muhammad b. Djahir [see djahir, banu], 
and finally Sadld al-Dawla Hibat Allah b. Muham- 
mad al-Ra c banI al-Rahbl. The two last were experts 
in public finance who, before or after their stay in 

Aleppo, performed the same function for other rulers. 
Aleppo enjoyed at that time low prices and great pros- 
perity; numerous houses built in this period were still 

were peaceful. A tribute was conveyed each year by 
lbn al-Aysar to the Byzantine Emperor who, for his 
promoted the Mirdasid notables in the imperial 

t the s 

with i 

/horn the above lbn al-Aysar regularly 
brought a gift (al-kist), were good. Thimal supported 
al-Basasiri [q.v.] at the beginning of his revolt against 
the c Abbasid caliphate and gave him the town of 

However, from 449/1057-8 onwards, Thimal had 
to face the jealousy of his Kilab supporters, who 
reproached him for treating them less well than his 
NumayrT allies. In exasperation, he arranged with al- 
Mustansir to exchange Aleppo for Djubayl, Bayrut 
and c Akka, far from Kilabi agitation, and a Fatimid 
governor was installed at Aleppo. In 451/1060 the 
defeat and death of al-Basasiri lessened Fatimid 
prestige in eastern Syria, and Asad al-Dawla c Atiyya 
b. Salih, Thimal's brother, occupied Rahba, captur- 
ing the treasure and weapons which had been stored 
there in preparation for an expedition against c Irak. 
The Kilab entrusted to the young prince Mahmud b. 
Shibl al-Dawla Nasr b. Salih b. Mirdas and his cousin 
Man^ b. Mukallad b. Kamil b. Mirdas the task of 
regaining possession of Aleppo. After a first unsuc- 
cessful attempt, they received the support of the ahdath 
of the town as well as the notables, whereas the rich 

ashraf of the c Alids remained once again the most 
faithful to the Fatimid power. In Djumada II 452/July 
1060, Aleppo opened its gates to the Kilab. The 
Fatimid governor, entrenched in the citadel, asked for 
help from Cairo, who commanded the governor of 
Damascus, Nasir al-Dawla Abu C A1I al-Husayn b. Abi 
Muhammad al-Hasan, to go to Aleppo, where he was 
however coldly received. In Radjab 452/August 1060, 
he confronted the Kilabi army and in his turn 
experienced defeat at al-Funaydik. Abandoned by his 
Kalb, TayyP and Kilab allies and overcome by thirst, 
he was taken prisoner together with the majority of 
the Fatimid commanders. The next day, c A(iyya b. 
Salih took possession of Aleppo, which two days later 
fell into the hands of Mahmud b. Nasr b. Salih. Ten 
days later, the last Fatimid troops surrendered the 
citadel to him and left northern Syria for good. 

Thimal b. Salih was meanwhile staying in Cairo. 
Al-Mustansir informed him that since the town of 
Aleppo had eluded him, he was resuming possession 
of the coastal towns. Thimal then decided to return to 
Aleppo. But his nephew Mahmud, relying on his 
NumayrT allies, refused to give up the city to him, sent 
the poet Ibn Sinan al-Khafadji to ask for help from 
Byzantium, and freed Nasir al-Dawla and the other 
Fatimid prisoners in order to conciliate al-Mustansir. 
After some military operations in which Mahmud, 
supported by the ahdath of Aleppo, had the worst of it, 
the Kilabi shaykhs imposed an agreement: the uncle 
Thimal received Aleppo whilst the nephew Mahmud 
had the right to compensation in cash and grain. In 
Rabl* II 453/April 1061, Thimal entered Aleppo once 
more, and was soon joined there by Mahmud and by 
the clan of the Numayr, thanks to the political genius 

is wife al- 
her, the r 


;r of Rah 


i, had proclaii 




Thimal died at the end of 454/1062 after leading 

encroachments, in the mountains and plateaux 
situated between Antioch and Aleppo. Contrary to all 
expectations, he had nominated his brother c Atiyya to 
succeed him in Aleppo. Mahmud b. Nasr protested 
and obtained the support of the Kilabi notables. In 
Radjab 455/July 1063, uncle and nephew started 
fighting each other, with varied fortunes for each. The 
following year, a truce was established. c A(iyya was to 
keep Aleppo and the eastern part of the principality, 
from Rahba to Kinnasrm and c Azaz. The western 
part was assigned to Mahmud. But c Atiyya did not 
accept this division, and took the dangerous decision 
to call upon a thousand Turcoman archers who were 
established in Diyar Bakr. Led by their chief, Ibn 
Khan or Ibn Khakan, they were the first Turks to 
enter Syria as free men. Mahmud was forced to con- 
clude a new truce, and c Atiyya, who in the end would 
be embarassed by the presence of the Turcomans, had 
their camp pillaged by the ahdath of Aleppo. Some 
Turcomans were killed, others scattered but, out of 
vexation, Ibn Khan placed himself at the service of 
Mahmud. The latter, after a victory at Mardj Dabik 
[q.v.] and a three-months' siege, was finally able, in 
Ramadan 457/August 1065, to enter into possession 
of Aleppo which he had conquered in 452/1060. The 
de facto division of the principality into an eastern 
domain situated on the Euphrates and assigned to 
c Atiyya, and a western domain, comprising Aleppo 
and the djund of Kinnasrm as well as a large part of the 
djundoi Hims, and assigned to Mahmud b. Nasr, was 
accepted by all. 

The period of relative peace and autonomy which 
northern Syria and the Djazlra had enjoyed was now 

coming to an end. Indeed, the equilibrium between 
Baghdad, Constantinople and Cairo was upset. 
Cairo, struck by famine, could no longer intervene in 
northern Syria. Byzantium was devoting all its forces 
to resisting the deadly Turcoman infiltrations. On the 
other hand, the c Abbasid caliphate had recovered a 
formidable vigour thanks to Saldjuk protection. 
Sultan Alp Arslan [q.v.], who in 455/1063 had suc- 
ceeded his uncle Toghril Beg [q.v.], was ready to use 
the disorder created by the undisciplined Turcomans 
in order to intervene in northern Syria. 

In 459-60/1067-68, the Turcomans ravaged all the 
Byzantine territory from the Orontes to the 
Euphrates, and 70,000 Christian captives were 
recorded as being sold in the Aleppo markets. In the 
same year, Mahmud b. Nasr, with Ibn Khan and his 
men, reached Hamat and Hims to the south of his 
principality; it was believed that he was about to cross 
the steppe in order to attack, in Rahba, his uncle 
c Atiyya, whom the Fatimids were inciting to intervene 
against him. The kadi Ibn 'Amraar, master of Tripoli, 
was able to reconcile the uncle and nephew and 
arrange for Cairo once more to recognise the partition 
of 457/1065. But when c Atiyya set out for Hims or 
Damascus, a town to which he put forward a claim, 
the prince of Mawsil, Muslim b. Kuraysh al- c UkaylT, 
took advantage of the opportunity to seize Rahba 
where the Mirdasid was unpopular. The Sunn! khutba 
in favour of the c Abbasids was re-established there. 

The Byzantines could not tolerate the deadly raids 
led against them by the Turcomans from Mirdasid 
territory. The town of Aleppo was profiting from the 
sales of booty and captives each time an expedition 
returned. In 461-2/1069-70, they occupied Manbidj, 
then launched several operations in order to weaken 
the Turcomans. Mahmud b. Nasr began a riposte, 
then concluded a truce, pledging 40,000 dinars which 
Constantinople agreed to lend him against the 
security as a hostage of his son Nasr. The Turcomans, 
constantly increasing in numbers, presented for him, 
in 462/1070, a more serious threat than Byzantium. 
In Aleppo, they became involved in fights with the 
citizens; in the plain, they pillaged the granaries and 
held the peasants to ransom. Mahmud b. Nasr could 
not hope for help from the Fatimids. Only the Saldjuk 
sultan was able to restore order in northern Syria. But 
it was necessary to pay the price and abandon the 
ShT'i adhan and the khutba in favour of the Fatimid 
Imam. Mahmud b. Nasr spoke realistically to the 
shaykhs of Aleppo; if he did not yield to the Saldjuks, 
he would be smashed by them. Unhappy, but con- 
vinced, the shaykhs came round to his point of view. In 
Shawwal 462/July 1070, the Friday prayer in the 
great mosque of Aleppo displayed the new attachment 
of the town to Sunnism and the c Abbasids. There 
were some reactions of popular opposition; the 
mosque's mats disappeared, for they belonged to C A1T 
and not 'Umar. The same year, Mecca and Medina 
rallied to the c Abbasids, while Yemen had abandoned 
Fatimid allegiance in 459/1066. In Cairo, the old loser 
of Aleppo, Nasir al-Dawla, the strong man of the 
military rebellion, had offered his services to the 

The Saldjuk sultan Alp Arslan asked Mahmud b. 
Nasr to follow the example of the Kaysl and Kurdish 
princes of the Djazira and steppe, and to come and 
tread on his carpets as a token of submission. As the 
Mirdasid was wavering, Alp Arslan camped in the 
spring of 463/1071 with his formidable army in front 
of Aleppo on a hill known from that time as Tall al- 
Sultan. But, despite a torrent of arrows and the 
damage which his mangonels inficted on the walls, 

Alp Arslan could not stamp out the brave and 
resourceful resistance of the people of Aleppo. 
Negotiating with the other chiefs of Kilab factions, the 
sultan publicly offered to let them name a replacement 
for Mahmud b. Nasr. The latter, having more faith in 
the courage of the Aleppo citizens than in the loyalty 
of his fellow-tribesmen, left the town. Together with 
his mother al-Sayyida al- c Alawiyya, they trod on the 
sultan's carpet. The Numayn princess, wife of two 
Kilabi princes and mother of a third, adopted in the 
face of the Sunni Turk an attitude of vanquished 
pride, quite different from the respectful humility 
which she had displayed, twenty years earlier, before 
the Fatimid Imam. Alp Arslan, recovering his 
equanimity, confirmed Mahmud b. Nasr in his ter- 
ritories and entrusted to him the task of chasing the 
Fatimids out of central Syria, the first stage before the 
destruction of the Isma c ilT caliphate. Then the sultan 
went to confront the Byzantine army which had 
penetrated into Armenia. 

Mahmud b. Nasr, at the head of an army composed 
of Kilab and Turcomans, went therefore to Ba c labakk 
and was about to besiege Damascus when he learnt 
that his uncle 'Atiyya had left the territory of Antioch, 
where he had found refuge, in order to attack 
Ma c arrat MasrTn to the south-west of Aleppo. 
Mahmud b. Nasr returned to his principality and 
gathered some Turkish contingents to confront an 
imminent Byzantine attack, but the complete victory 
that Alp Arslan achieved at Malazgird [q.v.] in Dh u 
'1-Ka c da 463/August 1071 marked the final close of 
the offensive that the Byzantines had been conducting 
in Syria for a century. c Atiyya having died in Con- 
stantinople, Mahmud b. Nasr in 465/1072-3 took 
Rahba for the c Ukaylids. At the end of his reign, 
having become distrustful and mean, Mahmud b. 
Nasr showed himself cruel to his entourage. He had 
both the son and brother of his vizier, the Christian 
AbQ Bishr, who had always helped him in hard times, 
beheaded and forced the latter to carry these two 
heads tied together around his neck; then, on a false 
charge, he had him killed in his turn and thrown into 
the well of the citadel. He quarrelled with the Kinam 
amir Sadid al-Mulk c Ali b. Mukallad Ibn Munkidh 
[see munkidh, banu], who left Aleppo for Tripoli, still 
a ShT<T centre, and was able to carve out for himself, 
nent of the Kilab, a lordship 

die Oroi 




died i 

467 c 

468/1075, leaving an inh< 
half million dinars. He had retaken from the Byzan- 
tines the castle of Sinn in Rabl c II 467/end of 1074. 
He had designated as his successor his youngest sor 
Shabib, but the eldest, Nasr, a descendant of the 
Buyids through his mother, was recognised as prince 
of Aleppo. Nasr b. Mahmud showed himself to be 
more peaceful and more generous than his father. Hi; 
led by the Turcoman Ahmad Shah, retook 



the Byzar 

468/September-October 1075. The same year, Atsiz 
b. Uvak al-Malik al-Mu c azzam [q.v.], the Turkish 
master of Damascus, penetrated the Mirdasid domain 
and pillaged the middle valley of the Orontes, install- 
ing his brother Djawali or Cawli in Rafaniyya. After 
a first attempt, which failed, Ahmad Shah managed to 
expel Djawali to Damascus. On the day of the Filr 
468, Nasr b. Mahmud, completely drunk, put Ahmad 
Shah in prison and attacked his Turkish troops who 
were stationed in the Hadir of Aleppo; a Turkish 
archer killed him with an arrow. 

Sadid al-Mulk Ibn Munkidh, having returned from 
Tripoli, had Sabik, Nasr's brother, designated amir of 
Aleppo. He was hoisted with a rope along the citadel 

'1-Fada 5 i 

a pun 

of 1,000 d\ 


onthly allow; 

fellow Turks. The Kilab of the plain proclaimed as 
their amir Waththab. brother of Nasr and Sabik, and 
the fourth brother Shabib gave him his support, as did 
their cousin Mubarak b. Shibl. 

Ahmad Shah, at the head of 1,000 cavalry, accom- 
panied by an allied Turkish contingent commanded 
by Muhammad b. Dumladj, easily dispersed the 
Kilab coalition, 70,000 cavalry and infantry, 
assembled near Kinnasrln. The Turks captured 
100,000 camels and 400,000 sheep as well as a large 
number of KilabI wives and concubines. Ten thou- 
sand military slaves of Kilab were counted. Ahmad 
Shah returned to Aleppo with all the booty taken in 
the tents and all the prisoners. Sabik gave the order to 
free the prisoners and brought to live with him his 
sister, wife of Mubarak b. Shibl, who was one of the 

In Dhu '1-Hidjdja 469, Ibn Dumladj took Ahmad 
Shah prisoner by surprise and sold him for 100,000 
dinars and twenty horses back to Sabik b. Mahmud. 
At the beginning of 470/summer of 1077, three 
leaders of the Kilab rebellion, Waththab b. Mahmud, 
Mubarak b. Shibl and Hamid b. Zughayb, went to 
complain about Sabik to Alp Arslan, who offered 
them fiefs in Syria, entrusting the whole of Syria in 
appanage to his brother Tadj al-Dawla Tutush. 
Accompanied by some Turkish leaders (Afshin b. 
Bakdji, Sanduk al-TurkT, Muhammad b. Dumladj, 
Ibn Tutu and Ibn Burayk), Tutush reached Diyar 
Bakr with the opposition Mirdasids. During this time, 
Ahmad Shah, having been freed, had attacked 
Antioch, reduced to famine, then agreed to lift the 
siege in return for 5,000 dinars. Fearing Tutush who 
was approaching Aleppo, the Turks who dwelt with 
Ahmad Shah outside the walls in the Hadir went, with 
Sabik's authorisation, to put their wives in safety in 
the Castle of the Bridge over the Orontes wheh Ibn 
Munkidh had restored; but they could not endure the 
change of climate and succumbed to sickness. In Dhu 
'l-Ka c da 471/May 1079, Sharaf al-Dawla Abu '1- 
Makarim Muslim b. Kuraysh, amir of the Banu 
c Ukayl of Mawsil, came on the orders of Malik Shah 
to join forces with Kilab and with Tutush, who were 
besieging Aleppo. Ahmad Shah was killed in the 

bik, of 

horn he was fond, and blamed the Kilab 
called in the Turks against their own 
Although he obtained pi 

eetly a 

:d for 

ell to the people of Aleppo all that they needed in 
order to subsist. His departure was followed by that of 
most of the Kilab. As the Turks committed atrocities, 
the last Kilab who were still participating in the siege 
rallied to Sabik. On learning that an amir from 
Khurasan, al-Turkman al-TurkT, was coming to help 
Tadj al-Dawla in the siege, Sabik handed on to his 
cousin Mansur b. Kamil a poem in which he implored 
the KilabI amir Abu Za'ida Muhammad b. Za'ida to 
save from the Turks the last Arab principality in 
Syria. More than a thousand cavalry and five hun- 
dred infantry from Numayr, Kushayr, Kilab and 
c Ukayl assembled with the approval of Sharaf al- 
Dawla. They defeated al-Turkman in the Wadi But- 
and pillaged the goods of a caravan of merchants 

< were accompanying him. Tadj al-Dawla Tutush, 
difficult position before Aleppo, withdrew to the 
Euphrates and Diyar Bakr in order to pass the winter. 

In spring, he resumed the campaign, conquered Man- 
bidj and attacked a certain number of castles belong- 
ing to the Kilab, notably the fortified town of c Azaz. 
At the same time Abu Za'ida was massacring any 
isolated groups of Turkish cavalry whom he took by 
surprise. It was a very hard war, paid for by the 
peasants and merchants. Finally, Tutush undertook a 
forced march on Aleppo to take it by surprise, but the 
Kilab were victorious. Tutush then left northern Syria 
and set out for Damascus, which Atslz surrendered to 
him, since he was in difficulties facing a Fatimid 

According to Ibn al- c Adim, Tutush then entrusted 
the main part of his army to his general, the Turk 
Afshin, who returned northwards, pillaging the 
villages around Ba c labakk and attacking Rafaniyya. 
Some caravans of merchants, coming from or going to 
Tripoli, were there; Afshin and his men massacred 
the merchants, raped the women, pillaged the mer- 
chandise, with the carnage lasting for ten days or 

Afshin was received by the lord of the Castle of the 
Bridge Abu '1-Hasan Ibn Munkidh, and promised to 
spare Kafar Tab which belonged to the latter. Afshin 
resumed his march and, thanks to mangonels which 
accompanied him, was able to capture by bombard- 
ment or assault all the fortified towns and all the 
defensive towers of the Djabal Summak, as well as 
some villages lying to the east of Ma'arrat al-Nu c man. 
The populated areas were pillaged, sometimes burnt 
along with their inhabitants, the women and children 
who had escaped were raped or captured, and the men 
killed. But failing before Tall Mannas, Afshin was 
satisfied with imposing on its inhabitants a tribute of 
5,000 dinars. 

Tutush, on being informed of what was happening, 
made for Kafar Tab, but the army had left the region 
to go to ravage the Byzantine lands around Antioch. 
Tutush returned to Damascus, attempting to reassure 
the people on his way. When Afshin and his men left 
for the east, the plain of northern Syria no longer had 
a single village intact. Famine was widespread. Wheat 
was selling for a dinar for six rath and cases of can- 
nibalism were recorded. The inhabitants were leaving 
to seek refuge in the Djazlra in the c Ukaylid lands. 

In Ramadan 472/March 1080, Sharaf al-Mulk b. 
Kuraysh al- c UkaylI, informed of the situation in 
northern Syria, judged the moment to be propitious 

posed giving up Aleppo to him. Accompanied by a 
convoy of provisions, he marched on Balis and then 
on Aleppo, but Sabik refused to open the gates of the 
town to him. Thanks to the help of the ahdath, and 
especially of the starving population, Muslim was able 
to enter without a fight at the end of the year 472/June 
1080. Muslim found such a state of famine in Aleppo 
that he wanted to leave the town, but Ibn Munkidh 
persuaded him to stay. Sabik had taken refuge in the 
citadel, but his brothers Shablb and Wa thth ab. 
entrenched in the palace, succeeded in winning back 
the favour of the citadel's garrison. Sabik was handed 
over to his brothers and Shablb became master of the 
citadel. Negotiations took place with Sharaf al-Mulk, 
with Ibn Munkidh as intermediary. Muslim under- 
took to marry ManlS, daughter of Mahmud and 
sister of Sabik, and to give important fiefs in the 
region of c Azaz to Shablb and Waththab and in that 
of Rahba to Sabik. The three brothers left the citadel, 
where there was no water, and thus the Mirdasid state 
came to an end in 472/1080. 

The three brothers continued to play a role as local 
lords in northern Syria, still changing sides as easily 

as ever, first helping Muslim b. Kuraysh, then allying 
themselves with his enemies. At the time of the 
Franks' arrival in Syria in 491/1098, Waththab b. 
Mahmud was leading a contingent of Kilab who tried 
to block their advance. 

The Banu Mirdas offer an example of those Kaysl 
princes of the Syro- c IrakI steppe who succeeded in 
implanting within a sedentary territory an ordinary 
state structure which functioned for half-a-century in 
the manner of the quasi-autonomous provinces of the 
caliphate. The agricultural richness of the plateaux 
and valleys of northern Syria and the intensive trade 
between Mesopotamia and the Mediterranean via the 
Euphrates and Aleppo assured them of good 
revenues. They were helped in the management of the 
public finances by viziers, often Christians, and in 
meting out justice by ImamI Sh^I kadis, chosen from 
great c Alid or simply Kaysl families. They were able, 
in case of necessity, to gather an army of quality, com- 
prising Kilabi contingents of lightly-armoured cavalry 
but also ahdath of Aleppo, whose militias had acquired 
an institutional character and whose commander was 
one of the principal notables of the town. They con- 
ducted a skilful diplomacy of maintaining a balance 
between the declared ambitions of the Byzantines and 
Fatimids regarding northern Syria, depending for 
support alternately on one or the other when they 
were forced to meet an invasion with military 
resistance. This policy was more suitable for Aleppo 
than that of Sayf al-Dawla and his successors. The 
town experienced under the Kilabi princes some years 
of great prosperity, and on this point we cannot follow 
the contemporary historians who reduce their action 
to a Bedouinisation of the city and its region. This 
was, furthermore, a very productive period for Arabic 
poetry both at the court of Aleppo and in ci 

s Ma c 

il-Nu c 



that Abu'l- c Ala> was only the i 
tative of a pleiade of men of letters. 

But, later on, the weakness of the Fatimids, facing 
in Egypt a serious financial and grain crisis, the 
incapacity of the Byzantines to resist the Turcoman 
infiltrations, then the defeat of the Basileus by the 
Saldjuks, broke this skilful balance, and the Mirdasids 
were forced to recruit Turcomans in their turn and to 
create for themselves an army of slaves and 
mercenaries. An analysis of the changes that took 
place in the tactics of swordmanship on horseback and 
in weapon technology would enable us to understand 
how the Mirdasids were easily able to overcome heavy 
Byzantine armies and why they succumbed in their 
turn under the blows of small Turcoman contingents. 

From then on, the power of the dynasty was shown 
to be fragile. Old causes of weakness were still pres- 
ent: jealousy of the Banu Mirdas among other Kilab 
groups, even though each was given a domain around 
a stronghold; disputes between Mirdasid princes; and 
intervention of their allies from Numayr, c Ukayl and 
Kinana in the affairs of Aleppo. To these was added 
the behaviour of the Turcomans, who ruined the 
countryside and trade. No longer being able to main- 
tain order in the province, the Mirdasids lost their 
legitimacy in the eyes of the inhabitants and had to 
yield their principality to the c Ukaylids. The new 
Turkish and Kurdish military dynasties were not slow 
to take over. However, the fact that until the 
Crusades, some Mirdasid fiefs had survived in 
northern Syria shows how deeply rooted this dynasty 
was in a region where the Kilab had been established 

Bibliography: Principal oriental sources: 
Musabbihl, Akhbdr Misr, ed. A.F. Sayyid and Th. 


Bianquis, Cairo 1978; TihamI, Diwan, ed. Shawlsh 
1964; Hilal b. Muhassin al-Sabl, TaMkh, ed. 
Amedroz, Cairo 1919; Yahya b. Sa c id al-Antakl, 
History, ed. L. Cheikho, Paris 1909, partial ed. and 
French tr., Vasiliev and Kratchkovski, in PO, xviii, 
xxiii; Nasir-i Khusraw, Sefer Nameh, ed. and French 
tr. Ch. Schefer, Paris 1881; al-Mu 5 ayyad fi '1-Dln 
Da c I '1-Du c at, Sim and Diwdn, ed. M.K. Husayn, 
Cairo 1949; c AzImI HalabI, TaMkh Halab, very 
faulty ed. by Ibrahim Za c rur, Damascus 1984; Abu 
Shudja c al-Rudhrawari, Dhayl Tadfanb al-umam, ed. 
Amedroz, Cairo 1916; Ibn al-KalanisI, Dhayl 
TaMkh Dimashk, ed. Amedroz, Leiden 1908; Sibt 
Ibn al-DjawzI, Mir>it al-zamdn, years 456-65, Turk 
Islam Eserli ms. 2141; Ibn al- c AdIm, Zubdat al-halab 
min taMkh Halab, ed. S. Dahhan, Damascus 1951- 
1968; idem, Bughyat al-talab fi taMkh Halab, mss. 
Aya Sofia 3036, Ahmad III 2925, Fayd Allah 1404, 
see extracts in S. Zakkar, TaMkh al-hurub al- 
salibiyya, Beirut 1973 (as long as the Bughya, which 

remains unedited scientifically with an index, the 
history of events cannot be definitely established); 
Ibn al-Muyassar, al-Muntakd min taMkh Misr, ed. 
A.F. Sayyid, Cairo 1981; c Izz al-DIn Ibn Shaddad, 
al-AHak al-khatira, Aleppo, ed. D. Sourdel, 
Damascus 1953, section on northern Syria and the 
Djazlra, ed. and Fr. tr. A.-M. Edde-Terrasse, 
Damascus 1984. 

A fuller bibliography is to be found in the articles 

nu c man, manbidj (Byzantine, Syriac and Armenian 
sources and references not cited here); for Aleppo- 
Halab, see also M. Canard, Miscellanea Orientalia; 
idem, L'expansion arabo-islamique ei ses repercussions; 
idem, Byzance ei les Musulmans du Proche-Orient, Lon- 
don 1973, 1974; CI. Cahen, La Syne du Nordal'ipo- 

Paris 1940; idem, Turcobyzantina et Oriens Christianus, 

I, II, III, London 1974 (the only author to deal with 

the arrival of the Turcomans in Anatolia and North 

Syria); S. Zakkar, The emirate of Aleppo, 1004-1094, 

Beirut 1971, contains a list of Arabic ms. sources 

not mentioned elsewhere; Th. Bianquis, Damas et la 

Syne sous la domination fatimide, Damascus 1986. 

(Th. Bianquis) 

On the coins of the Mirdasids, see S. Lane 

Poole, Catalogue of oriental coins in the B.M., x, 275; 

idem, Catalogue of the coins in the Khedivial Library, 

337; E. von Zambaur, Nouvelles contributions a la 

numismatique orientate, in WNZ, xlvii (1914); L.A. 

Mayer, Bibliography of Moslem numismatics 2 , index; 

N.D. Nicol, Raafat el-Nabrawy and J.L. 

Bacharach, Catalog of the Islamic coins, glass weights, 

dies and medals in the Egyptian National Library, 

Malibu, Calif., nos. 2262-3. (Samir Shamma) 

MIRDAS b. UDAYYA, KharidjI leader in 

Basra, killed in 61/680-1. He belonged to the Rab^a 

b. Hanzala b. Malik b. Zayd Manat (called Rabl'a al- 

Wusta, NakaHd, ed. Bevan, 185, 5 = 699, 1. 11; 

Mufaddaliyyat, ed. Lyall, 123, 1. 12, 772, 1. 8), a 

branch of the tribe of Tamlm which supplied so many 

leaders to the KharidjI movement. His father was 

called Hudayr b. <Amr b. c Abd b. Ka c b and 

Udayya was his mother's or grandmother's name; 

she belonged to the tribe of Muharib b. Khasafa (Ibn 

Durayd, Kitab al-lshtikdk, ed. Wiistenfeld, 134; Ibn 

Kutayba, Kitab al-Ma^anf, ed. Wiistenfeld, 209; al- 

Tabarl; Mubarrad; al-Baladhurl; cf. Bibi). He is 

often called by his kunya Abu Bilal. 

His brother c Urwa b. Udayya had been one of the 
instigators of the KharidjI movement of secession at 

the battle of Siffin; he himself had taken part in the 
movement and had fought against C A1I at al- 
Nahrawan (38/658 [q.v.]); after this defeat he gave up 
all political activity although, like his brother, he 
remained faithful to his old opinions; but he declared 
himself against armed insurrection, political 
assassination (isti'rdd [q.v.]) and the participation of 
women in the KharidjI movement. These moderate 
views, which Mirdas retained till the end of the 
caliphate of Mu c awiya and which caused the 
extremists to class him among the ka'-ada (quietists) of 
the Kharidjls, made it all the more remarkable when 
he came out openly and actively against the excesses 
of the governor of Basra, c Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, in 
his repression of Kharidjism, A women named al- 
Baldja 5 (see Folia Orientalia, xii [1979], 203-4) had 
been cruelly martyred by the governor. Mirdas's 
indignation was so aroused that he left Basra with 40 
of his followers and went to al-Ahwaz on the Fars 
frontier, where he held out for a long time without 
committing any of those acts of fanaticism usual 
among the Kharidjls and confined himself to impos- 
ing a levy equal in value to the stipend ( i afd > ) which 
was legally due to him and his companions (60/680). 
c Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad sent against Mirdas the Kilabi 
chief Aslam b. Zur c a at the head of 2,000 men. They 
met near a village called Asak (or MIdjas, according 
to a verse quoted by Yakut, iv, 712-13) but the 
Kharidjls. in spite of their greatly inferior numbers, 
defeated him. In the following year, a second expedi- 
tion of 4,000 men under the Tamlml c Abbad b. 
Akhdar was organised by Ibn Ziyad; he found the 
Kharidjls encamped in front of Darabdjird. It was a 
Friday, and the two parties agreed to finish their 
prayers before fighting. But the government troops, 
breaking the oath they had sworn, fell upon the 
Kharidjls while they were still praying and massacred 
them. Mirdas's head was cut off and taken to Ibn 

This episode, insignificant in itself, provoked a 
tremendous reaction throughout c Irak in view of the 
fame which the piety and moderation of Mirdas had 
brought him. His death was promptly avenged by 
c Ubayda b. Hilal, who was later to become one of the 
leaders of the AzrakI rising, and it was in the name of 
Mirdas that Kharidjls rebelled again on the death of 
Yazld I (64/683). The heroism and death of Mirdas 
were sung by several poets, notably the famous 
c Imran b. Hittan [q.v.]; his memory was cherished for 
long in KharidjI circles and especially in c Uman, the 
centre of the Sufriyya (al-Mubarrad, 533, 1. 14 = 
Aghani', xvi, 154). The latter, whose intransigeance is 
much less marked than that of the Azrakls, may 
rightly regard Mirdas as their predecessor (cf. Haar- 
briicker, Asch-Scharastani's Religionspartheien und 
Philosophen-Schulen, ii, 406, from the Kitab al-Tabsir fi 
•l-din of Shahfur b. Tahir al-lsfara 5 lnl (Brockelmann, 
I 2 , 484, S I, 669); on the other hand, the Mu c tazills 
held that Mirdas had only rebelled under compulsion 
(munkif") and the ShI c Is even denied that he was a 
true KharidjI (al-Mubarrad, 560-1). 

Mirdas's brother, c Urwa b. Udayya, does not seem 
to have taken part in the insurrection; but this did not 
save him from persecution by Ibn Ziyad, who had 
him arrested and executed shortly after the death of 
Mirdas; the version which puts his execution before 
the rising of Mirdas in 58/678 (al-Tabari, ii, 185) is 
less probable. 

Bibliography: The 


s that of Mubarrad, al-Kdm. 

, ed. Wright, 
:; Baladhurl, 
Efendi, fols. 


386a-387b, is very close to but not identical with 
Mubarrad's and quotes a large number of verses. 
He also omits the isnad. Tabari, ii, 186-7, 390-1 
relies on two sources, Wahb b. Djarlr and an 
anonymous one, of which the former does not seem 
very reliable and the latter follows Mubarrad and 
Baladhurl, but is much shorter; Yakut, i, 61-2 (cf. 
also ii, 434, 1. 1) seems to have used an independent 
source. Ibn al-Athir, Kami!, iii, 428-30, iv, 81-2, 
harmonises Tabari and Baladhurl, and follows 
Mubarrad. DInawari, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, ed. 
Guirgass, 278-9, knows the episode, but wrongly 
attributes it to the Azrakls (sic) and does not even 
mention Mirdas. See also Wellhausen, Die rel. -pol. 
Oppositionsparteien, in Abh. G. W. Gott. , phil.-hist. 
Kl., N.S. v/2 (1901), 25-7. 

(G. Levi Della Vida) 
MIRGHANIYYA or khatmiyya, the dervish 
order or tarika founded by Muhammad c Uthman al- 
Mlrghanl, more commonly called the Khatmiyya from 
its founder's claim that it is the seal (khalm) of all 
tarikas. The nisba of the founder does not appear in 
such works as al-Sam c anI's K. al-Ansab or al-Suyufi's 
Lubb al-albab, but may be derived from the place-name 
Marghan in Ghur, for family traditions attest to a 
long residence in Central Asia. The prefixed A- is a 
Western form due to a supposed derivation from al- 

Towards the end of the 18th century, the family, 
after a short residence in India, drifted back to Mecca, 
whose shurafi' recognised their claim to descent from 
the Prophet. Muhammad c Uthman's grandfather, 
c Abd Allah al-Mahdjub (d. 1207/1792), was a well- 
known Sufi, and Muhammad c Uthman followed in 
his footsteps. He was initiated into the Kadiriyya, 
Shadhiliyya, Nakshbandiyya, Djunaydiyya and the 
Mirghaniyya of his grandfather, whence his later 
claims to have gathered up all the tarikas into his own. 
His shaykh was pre-eminently that remarkable man, 
Ahmad b. Idris al-FasI (1173-1253/1760-1837 [see 
ahmad b. idris]), to whose teaching and inspiration 
was due the reawakening of the tarikas at the begin- 
ning of the 19th century. Ahmad sent him as his pro- 
pagandist to Egypt and the Eastern Sudan (1817) just 
before the Turko-Egyptian occupation. He was 
acclaimed in Nubia and Dongola, but was not well 
received by the heads of the old orders in the Fundj 
kingdom. On his return to Mecca, he continued to 
serve Ahmad, following him into exile at Sabya in 

Mecca. There followed a period of rivalry with 
Ahmad's most famous pupil, Muhammad b. C A1T al- 
SanGsI (1792-1859 [q.v.]), and Ibrahim al-Rashld (d. 
1874), founder of the Rashldiyya, each of the three 
claiming to be Ahmad's successor and founding 
independent tarikas. Muhammad c Uthman won the 
support of the shurafi* of Mecca and developed his 
own rule on different lines to that of his master. He 
belonged to the class of ecstatic mystics and was more 
influenced by the Nakshbandiyya than by the 
orthodox doctrinal and reformist ideas of Ahmad b. 
Idris. The formula nakshdjam was adopted as mystic 
symbol of the various silsilas, "chains", concentrated 
into himself. He sent his sons into different countries, 
South Arabia, Egypt, Eastern Sudan and India, in 
each of which a nucleus of followers had been formed 
before his death (1268/1851) at al-Ta'if, to which he 
had withdrawn in consequence of the hostility of the 
<ulamd> of Mecca. 

His eldest son, Muhammad Sirr al-Khatm, suc- 
ceeded him as Shaykh al-Tarika, but his death shortly 
afterwards initiated a period of family rivalry and 

rise of the MahdT [see al-mahdiyya). Another son, al- 
Hasan (d. 1869), had settled at Kasala, where he 
founded the township of Khatmiyya which soon 
eclipsed all other centres as the seat of the order (on 
his authority among the eastern tribes, see Miinz- 
inger's account quoted in Sudan Notes and Records 
[1940], 47-50). 

When Muhammad Ahmad proclaimed himself the 
Mahdi of the Sudan in 1881, the Mirghaniyya. like 
other established tarikas which had vested interests in 
the maintenance of the Egyptian regime, strongly 
opposed his claims (see c Uthman Dikna's letter to the 
Mahdi, in Wingate, Mahdism and the Egyptian Sudan, 
1891, repr. London 1968, 529). Al-Hasan's son, 
Muhammad c Uthman al-Saghlr (d. 1886), excom- 
municated the Mahdi and headed the BanI c Amir, 
Shukriyya and other eastern tribes in their resistance, 
until Kasala fell in 1885 to c Uthman Dikna, who 
burnt the zawiya and tomb of al-Hasan. 

After the reoccupation in 1898, the new govern- 
ment sought the reconsolidation of MIrghanI 
authority. They sent to Egypt for Muhammad 
c Uthman's sons, Ahmad and C A1I, and rebuilt the 
tomb of al-Hasan. Although the role of the 
Mirghaniyya in aiding the Egyptians and English had 
alienated many, and they were opposed by the 
Mahdi's adherents, the leaders were able to regain 
their power and increase their following, owing to the 
influence which their hereditary baraka exercised upon 
the populace. Ahmad's death in 1928 left C A1I as the 
undisputed head of the order, although other regional 
heads were technically equal in status. 

When the Mirghaniyya was at the height of its 
influence, the government's recognition of the 
Mahdi's son, c Abd al-Rahman, during the First 
World War, which was followed by the reconstitution 
of the Mahdiyya sect, inaugurated an era of rivalry 
between the two religious movements in which their 
political role came to assume predominance. The elec- 
tions of November 1953 for a Sudan Parliament 
resulted in the victory of the National Unionist Party 
supported by the Mirghaniyya over the Umma Party 
lpported by the Mahdiyya. 


. The n 

been in the Eastern Sudan, \ 

;a. It is strong among the merchant com- 
and educated classes throughout the whole 
country, whence its power in politics. Among the 
ordinary population, whilst groups will be found all 
over the country, it is strongest in the north (Donkola 
and Haifa Provinces), among the Dja c liyyln, and in 
the east and Eritrea, especially among the Badja tribes 
('Ababda, Halanka, Ammar'ar, BanI c Amir and 
Habab). In Kordofan there is a branch order, the 
Isma c Hiyya. It was propagated in Egypt by Abu 
Hurayba, an Egyptian pupil of the founder, under 
whose name the tarika is sometimes known, and has 
zdwiyas in the chief towns. It has followers in 
Abyssinia (Addis Ababa and among the Guma), 
whilst in Arabia only small groups survive in the 
Hidjaz, 'Aslr and Yemen. 

Bibliography: For the works of c Abd Allah al- 
Mahdjub, see Brockelmann, S II, 523; for those of 
Muhammad 'Uthman, op. cit., S II, 809; for those 
of Dja c far b. M. 'Uthman, op. cit., S II, 810. Al- 
Madjmu c a al-Mirghaniyya (various eds.) includes the 
most important devotional works of these, al-Rasd^il 
al-Mirghaniyya (1939), a collection of 12 essays deal- 
ing with the rules of the order and methods of per- 
forming of the dhikr, the Minhat al-ashab by Ahmad 
b. c Abd al-Rahman al-Rutbl being especially 


valuable. See also A. Le Chatelier, Les confreries 
musulmanes du Hedjaz, Paris 1887, 226-48; J.S. 
Trimingham, Islam in the Sudan, 1949, London 215- 
17, 231-5. (Ed.) 

MIRI (a.), a shortened form of amiri, in Ottoman 

mander or governor, the amir". Although in early 
Islam this latter title [q.v.\ used to denote the head of 
the Muslim community, it was downgraded over till- 
ages, and during Ayyubid and Mamluk times was 
given to military officers, including low-ranking ones. 

importance and was singled out to designate assets 
that belong of right to the highest Muslim authority, 
the Sultan. Throughout Ottoman history, it was used 
as a noun meaning "lands belonging to the 
government", "land tax" levied from them, as 

Muslim jurisprudence drew a distinction between 
privately-owned lands, mulk (either c ushr or kharddj 
land, possessed by Muslims or by non-believers, 
respectively) and state property, ard al-mamlaka. In 

Ottomans that it assumed the name mm. Since, the 
absolute ownership, the rakaba, belonged to the bayt al- 

peasants who enjoyed the rights of usufruct, the lasar- 
urn. The 

:low thes. 


nent of wakf ghayr 

Upon the conquest of a given area by the Ottomans 
its agricultural lands, the most promising source of 
income, were declared mln. This was explicitly stated 
in the Kanun-nSme of the wilayet (e.g. Wilayet-i Mora, 
in Barkan, Kanunlar, 326), then recorded by the land 
registration (tahrfr) committee in the relevant daftar-i 
khdkam[q.v.\. As long as the peasants tilled the land 
and paid its taxes (e.g. the aft resmi, c us_hr) no one- 
could interfere with their holdings or with the right of 
their descendants to inherit them. 

The taxes that accrued from these lands were 
assigned as salaries for the upkeep of the Ottoman 

treasury. As late as the' 10th/16th century, the 

that occurred in these systems. Vacant //mare as well 
as ordinary mm villages were in the various forms of 
khdss \q. v. ] leased out to multazim tax farmers. The tax- 
ation unit (mukata c a) was farmed out, and in return 
the lease holder was expected to convey to the state 

due. Two ways were resorted to in order to compen- 
" a the actual 

<. fan 

that were added over 

Secondly, there were e 

the years under various names (faHd, damaHm, etc.), 

and gradually became part of the established lax. The 

a limited period of one to three years, and although 

of the llth/17th centurv it underwent certain 
modifications. The relatively short term of office of 

the well-being of the peasants who cultivated the mm 

introduced by the Treasury, the life-long lease or 

malikane [q.v.]. Here, too, the multazim undertook to 
pay the annual mm due and he retained the surplus 
amount which he had collected. He did not, however, 

reminiscent of mulk. During the 12th/18th century, 

all mln lands prevailed, its actual control over the 
tenants and lease holders diminished as the empire 

During the Tanzimil \q.v.\ period, an overall 
attempt was made to redress this situation by way of 
re-establishing the state's authority over the mm 
holders. Many of the rights which they had gradually 
usurped were legitimised and codified, whereas future 

government. The construction of new buildings or the 
planting of trees on miri land, which might ipso facto 
grant full ownership rights, was forbidden (unless 
specifically authorised) by the land law of April 21, 
1858 (articles 25, 31); official permission became 
imperative to enable the sale of mm plots, and so was 

17, 116, respectively). Mm 
r three years would be con- 
icles 68-71). 

tr establishment of the dif- 
ences between mm and mulk could not change the 
torical trend involving the transformation of the 
raer into the latter. This tendency reached fruition 
Egypt, where close links with the world economy 
)ught about a rapid increase of mulk properties to 
nost one-third of the land by the end of the 19th 
Uury. At that point, the Egyptian mm (referred to 
kharadjiyya) was ultimately incorporated into the 

mortgaging (a 
ands left talk 
iscated by th, 
The distinc 

e Ferti 


)13, a 

lardly incr. 

t, this 

rights over m 

extended, although cc 
well into modern times. Thus in the middle of the 
20th century, most lands of the Fertile Crescent (with 
the exception of Lebanon) were still mm. Moreover, 
although the 1858 law explicitly prohibited any collec- 

evaded. No general registration was carried out (in 
southern c Irak, not even theoretically), and the 
villagers, fearing conscription and taxation, registered 
their land in the name of tribal heads or city notables. 
In practice, however, they continued to cultivate their 
land according to the traditional ways. Unlike Egypt, 
where a full land census was completed just after the 
turn of the century, a state of anarchy persisted in the 
Fertile Crescent in this field up until 1914. Land 
settlement and registration of titles progressed very 
slowly during the Mandatory period and in the 

of miri was abolished (e.g. in Israel from 1 January 
1970), it still remains valid in unsettled lands. Even 
the term "pure miri" (miri sir/), referred to by the 
registration commissions of the 19th century in the 
Fertile Crescent, has not disappeared. In contem- 
porary c Irak, where modern legislation introduced 

' ■' ■ which are'still within the realm of state 


bliography: G. Baer, Studies in the social history 
lern Egypt, Chicago 1969, 67-78; idem, A history 
downership in modern Egypt, 1800-1950, Oxford 
1-2, 79-80; H. Inalcik, Land problems in 
sh history, in MW, xlv (1955), 221-8; M. Belin, 


Etude sur la propriete Jonciere en pays Musulmans, et 
specialement en Turquie, in JA (1862), 291-358; ~ 
Warriner, Land reform and development in the Middle 
East, London 1962, 65-70, 147-8; 6.L. Barkan, XV 
ve XVI inci astrlarda Osmank imparatorlugunda zirai 
eknominin hukuki ve mali esaslan. i. Kanunlar, Istanbul 
1943, 326 and index; M. Ertugrul Diizdag, 
Seyhulislam Ebussuud Ejendi fetvalan, Istanbul 1972, 
167, 70; Mehmed Rashid, TaHkh-i 'Othmdni, Istan- 
bul 1282, ii, 288-9; A. Cohen, Palestine in the 18th 
century, patterns of government and administration, 
Jerusalem 1972, 204-26 and index. 

(A. Cohen) 
MIRKAS or MirkAs (a.), a kind of mutton 
sausage. There would probably be no reason to 
devote an article to this culinary speciality had it not 
enjoyed for some time in Europe, and especially in 
France, an unexpected success, being known as 
"merguez", after the arrival of a considerable 
number of Maghrib! immigrants and above all, 
repatriates from the lands of North Africa, where the 
word and the thing itself were not widespread, it 
seems, until a relatively recent period. Thus there is 
a problem worthy of examination. 

Sausages are not unknown in the East, where they 
are called by the Turkish name, or the Latin 
lakdnik/makdnik/nakdnik which Dozy has already men- 
tioned (Suppi, s.vv.), tracing them back to lucanica, 
which shows a Roman influence, and remarking that 
Ibn al-Hashsha : "s gloss on the Mansuri of al-Razi 
explains the first of these three words as the Maghrib! 
mirkds. In the West also, E. Laoust notes (in Mots et 
choses berberes, 79 and n. 7) the existence, in Berber 
lands, of sausages, the word for which varies accord- 
ing to the local dialects. In any case, M. Beaussier, 
whose Dictionnaire dates from 1887, records, under the 
radical r-k-z, a word 'rmrkaza, coll. "rmrkaz, but adds 
that it is Tunisian; Marcel Cohen, in Le parler desjuifs 
d' Alger, Paris 1912, 82, notes the same word with a 
-g-, as also David Cohen who, in his monograph on 
Le parler desjuifs de Tunis, Paris-The Hague 1964, 152- 
3, has nwrgdz in a colourful text which provides infor- 
mation on the preparation of these sausages with mut- 
ton, fennel seeds, garlic and a paste made from red 
peppers. G.-S. Colin (in his ed., with E. Levi- 
Provencal, of al-Sakati, 33-4) observes on the one 
hand that the writing of the word with -k- or -k- in the 
ms. used shows the difficulty caused by the wish to 
render a -g- and, on the other hand, since it is 
obviously not a Bedouin word, that it is possible to 
regard mirkasl mirkds, whose origin is unknown, as a 
Roman borrowing which has been preserved in 
Maghrib! dialects under strong Spanish influence. It 
may furthermore be remarked that, under the radical 
r-k-s, Dozy had already noted that mirkds, pi. mardkis, 
means "in the Ma gh rib, sausage, chitterlings, black 
pudding"; he refers in this connection to several 
sources, among which the Vocabulista of Pedro de 
Alcala translates (295) merqutze [pi.], mefiquic, as 
longanizo ( = sausage) and (315) merquiz al-kanzir [pi.] 
mefiquic al-kanzir, as morcilla ( = black pudding or chit- 
terlings). This latter expression probably relates to a 
preparation in use among the Mozarabs and not 
among the Muslims, since Islam not only forbids the 
consumption of pork (khinzir [q. v. ]) but also of blood 
that has been shed [see dam in Suppl.]. In Muslim 
circles, "mirgdz thus meant, as rmrgaz does today, 
sausages prepared entirely with mutton. Moreover, 
the Kitab al-Tabikh, an anonymous work published in 
1965 at Madrid by A. Huici Miranda, under a signifi- 
cant title La cocina hispano-magrebi en la epoca almohade, 
contains in the first lines of the ms. the recipe for the 

ordinary mirkds, which is considered very digestible. It 
is made from minced leg of mutton, kneaded with a 
little oil and with the addition of various spices and 
ingredients: pickle, pimento, dried coriander, nard 
and cinnamon. There is then added to it 3/4 of its 
weight in fat, which it is sufficient to cut into small 
pieces, without grinding or mincing, for they must be 
melted on the stove; everything is kneaded once more 
and put into skins from the intestines of mutton 
washed as a preliminary. The sausages are fried in a 
mild oil, then sprinkled with an oil and vinegar dress- 
ing or a more elaborate sauce. A little dried cheese 
and some eggs can also be added to the meat itself (op. 
cit., 24). Other recipes were certainly in use. 

These "merguez" were not only prepared in 
private homes; they were also sold outside, in the 
shopping streets and on stalls, as appears in works of 
hisba [q.v.], which especially enjoin the muhtasib to 
watch the tabbakhun (whom one hesitates to describe as 
"caterers") and ensure that they use fresh products 
and not (like so many sellers of merguez today) 
spoiled meat which is cheaper (Ibn c Abdun, 45; Fr. 
tr., 124) and oblige them to work in public view (fi 
mawdi'- zdhir), using very smooth chopping boards so 
as to avoid splinters penetrating the sausage meat; 
during preparation, the tabbakhun must drive away the 
flies with fans; some advice is also given them on the 
details of preparation, the proportions to observe and 
the ingredients to use (al-Sakat!, Ar. text, 31, 36; Fr. 
tr. 165, 175-6, based on a corrected and extended 

Literature does not appear to make frequent allu- 
sion to these "merguez", and H. Peres has only 
found a few lines to cite (La poesie andalouse, en arabe 
classique, au XI' siecle, Paris 1953, 315-16), where the 
mirkds gives rise to a macabre comparison with the 
fingers of a crucified man. 

Bibliography: Apart from the complete 
references appearing in the text, see Ibn c Abdun, 
Risala fi 'l-kada^ wa 'l-hisba, ed. Levi-Provencal, 
Cairo 1955 (tr. idem, in Seville musulmane, Paris 
1947); SakatI, Kitab fidddb al-hisba, ed. G.-S. Colin 
and Levi-Provencal, Paris 1931 (Span. tr. P. 
Chalmeta, inal-And., xxxii/1-2 [1967], 125-62, 359- 
97, xxxiii/1-2 [1968], 143-95, 367-420). 

(Ch. Pellat) 
MIRKH W AND, Muhammad b. Kh w andshah b. 
Mahmud, (836-7 to 903/1433-4 to 1498), TImurid 
historian under Sultan Husayn Baykara in Harat, 
author of the universal history Rawdat al-safd'' fi sirat 
al-anbiya?wa 'Imulik wa 7 khulafd\ written in Persian. 
He was born in 836-7/1433-4 into a Bukharan sayyid 
family. His father Burhan al-Din Kh w andshah spent 
most of his career in Balkh. with a sojourn also in 
Harat where he was connected with the eminent 
scholar and Shaykh al-Isldm, Baha> al-Din c Umar 
Djaghara 3 !. MIrkh w and received a comprehensive 
education and early became interested in history, but 
produced nothing until he won the patronage of Mir 
<A1T Shir Nawa'I [q.v.], who gave him quarters at the 
Ikhlasiyya khdnakah, part of the complex which 
Nawa'I began in 880/1475-6. MIrkhvand's brother, 
Sayyid Nizam al-Din Sultan Ahmad, served as sadr 
for Badl* al-Zaman b. Husayn Baykara in Astarabad. 
Mirkh w and had poor health, and part of his history 
was written on his sickbed. Near the end of his life, he 
withdrew from society to the Gazargah shrine, but 
due to a wasting illness he returned to Harat city in 
Ramadan 902/May 1497, and died on 2 Dhu '1-Ka c da 
903/22 June 1498 (sometimes erroneously given as 2 
Radjab). He was buried in the cemetery of Baha 5 al- 
Dln c Umar. 


The Rawdat al-safa^ is arranged in seven vc 
with an epilogue (khdtima) on geography: 

1 . From the creation to Yazdagird 

2. Muhammad and the Rashidun caliphs 

3. The twelve Imams, the Umayyads a 
c Abbasids 

of s< 

. Dyna 

Sa c Id 
. Sultan Hus 


s to the death of Abu 
and his sons up to 


8. Khdtima. 

The seventh volume was written after Mlrkh"and's 
death by his daughter's son Kh w andamlr [q.v.], who 
also completed the khdtima, finished apparently after 
907/1502. The history is based on a large number of 
Persian and Arabic works, some mentioned in the 
preface, others in the text. It enjoyed exceptional 
popularity throughout the Tu 

tiany 1 

orical < 


translated several times into Turkish: into Ottoman in 
the 10th/16th and 12th/18th centuries, and into 
eastern literary Turkish in the 12th/18th and 
13th/19th. It was widely used by European historians 
from the 17th century, and until the late 19th century 
remained a major source for the history of mediaeval 
Iran. The seventh volume, almost identical with the 
corresponding part of Khwandamlr' s Habib al-siyar, is 
still useful, as are some earlier sections based on works 
now lost, notably the Saldjukid Malik-ndma and the 
8th/ 14th century Tartkh-i SarbadSran. Volume vi also 

Bibliography: Storey, i, 92-101, 1236; Storey- 
Bregel, 361-78; N.D. Miklukho-Maklai, Opisanie 
persidskikh i tadzhikskikh rukopisei institula 
vostokovedenii, vypusk 3 (Moscow 1975), 87-90; IA, 
viii (1960), art. Mirhond; for the use of Mlrkh»and 
in the West, H.M. Elliot and J. Dowson, History of 
India, London 1872, iv, 127-40. For biographical 
information, see Kh w andamlr, Tehran 
1333/1954-5, iv, 105, 339-40; MIrkh"and, Tehran 
1960, i, 4-8, v, 68-9, vi, 747-8, 819-20, 873-5. Edi- 
tions: Bombay, 1271/1855; Tehran. 1270-4/1853- 
7, with continuation by Rida KulTKhan; Lucknow 
1874; Tehran, 1338/1960 with continuation, no 
critical apparatus or index. 

(A. Beveridge — [Beatrice Forbes Manz]) 
MIRMIRAN [see mTr-i mIran]. 
al-MIRRIKH. the planet Mars. The etymo- 
logy of the name is unknown. The sphere of Mars is 
the fifth sphere of the planets. It is bounded on the 
inner side by the sphere of the sun and on the outer 
side by the sphere of Jupiter, and its breadth is accord- 
ing to Ptolemy (xx, 376) 998 miles. Its period of 
revolution is estimated at 1 year, 10 months and 22 
days. In about 17 years, after 9 revolutions, Mars 
comes back to the same spot in the heavens; it spends 
about 40 days in each sign of the zodiac and covers 
about 40 minutes each day. It is said to be one-and-a- 
half times the size of the earth. 

Astrologers call Mars al-Nahs al-asghar, "the minor 
misfortune." It is the planet, which next to Saturn, is 

war, revolutions, death, conflagrations, etc. The 
character of those born under Mars is in keeping with 

Bibliography: Kazwinl, 'Adia'ib al-makhlukdt, ed. 
Wiistenfeld, i, 26; A. Hauber, Planetenkinderbilder 
und Sternbilder, Strasbourg 1916, passim; Rasd^il 
Ikhwdn al-Safd\ sections, iii, iv. (j. Ruska) 

the Guadiai 

(WadI Ana) at 35 miles/55 km. from the mouth of that 
'. This place, the ancient Myrtilis of the Romans, 
enjoyed a certain importance during the period of 
Islamic domination. It depended administratively on 
badja] and, according to Yakut and other 
geographers, was the best-defended stronghold of all 
: Iberian peninsula. At the end of the 
3rd/9th century, it was the headquarters of an 
independent chieftain, c Abd al-Malik b. Abi '1- 
wad who, in alliance with the lords of Badajoz [see 
alyaws] and of Ocsonoba [see ukhshunuba], 
id out against the amir c Abd Allah of Cordova. At 
the beginning of the 5th/llth century, it constituted a 
petty principality (ta^ifa) which was annexed however 
, Seville in 436/1044. It was from Mertola in par- 
cular that one of the main revolts against the 
lmoravids, the thawrat al-murtdin, spread forth; 
ideed, the murids [q.v.] of Ibn KasT [q.v.], com- 
landed by a certain Ibn al-Kabila, seized the fortress 
n 12 Safar 539/14 August 1144 and facilitated the 
rrival of the Almohads in that region. After various 
icissitudes, the place was definitively reconquered by 
the Christians towards the end of that same century. 
Bibliography: Idrlsl, Descr. de I'Afrique et de 
I'Espagne, ed.-tr. Dozy and De Goeje, 175/211, 
179/217; idem, Opus geographicum, 538, 542-3, 545, 
550; Ibn al-Abbar, al-Hulla al-siyara\ ii, 198; Ibn al- 
Khatib, A c mal al-aHam, ed. Levi-Provencal, Beirut 
1956, 248-52; Ibn c Idhari, Baydn, ii, 140/223; Ibn 
c Abd al-Mun c im, al-Rawd al-miHar, nos. 165, 183, 
pp. 125, 191; Marrakushl, Mu'djib, 134, 211, 374; 
Fagnan, Extraits inedits, Algiers 1924, 84, 86-7, 138; 
Levi-Provencal, La ^description de l'Espagne» d Ahmad 
al-Rdzi, in And, xviii/1 (1953), § 49; idem, Hist. 
Esp. Mus., i, 340; H. Mu'nis, Nusus siydsiyya..., in 
Madjallat al-Ma c had al-Misrl, iii (1955), 101-3; Zam- 
baur, Manuel, 55; J. Bosch-Vila, Los Almordvides, 
Tetouan 1956, 152, 287-8, 290, 293; D. Wassers- 
tein. The rise and fall of the Party-Kings, Princeton 
1985, 91; J. Dreher, L'imamal d'lbn Qasi a Mertola 
(automne 11 44 -He 1145). Legitimite d'une domination 
soufie?, in MIDEO, xviii (1988), 195-210 (a resume 
of part of the unpublished Bonn thesis of 1985, Das 
Imamat des islamischen Mystikers Abulqasim Ahmad ibn 
Husayn ibn Qasi). (E. Levi-Provencal*) 

MIRWAHA (a.), "fan, vane". 
1 . General aspects . In the Muslim East, from the 
Middle Ages to the present day, fans of various sizes 
have been simply a means of resisting the heat. Good 
ventilation and, where possible, reduction of the 
temperature are vital for the improvement of living 
conditions in regions where intense heat prevails 
throughout the summer. The civilisations preceding 
that of the Muslims were aware of some reasonably 
effective solutions to this problem, and it seems that 
the Muslims continued to apply them, to perfect them 
and to supplement them with inventions of their own. 
These techniques include, besides small hand-held 
fans and larger ones operated by servants, the con- 
struction of windows and skylights which may be 
opened for ventilation, the elaboration of systems 
directing every breath of air towards the interior of the 
building and the skill necessary to construct veritable 
machines (or rather, installations) based on a process 
of humidification and ventilation and capable of 
" :shening the ; ' 

2. Poc 

, hydra 

the roof or on a terrace (in the 4th/ 10th century: Mez, 
Renaissance, 360; later, Ibn Battuta, i, 30, relates that 
it is general practice to sleep "on the roof", but in 
their translation Defremery and Sanguinetti add, in 
parentheses, that this should be understood as mean- 
ing "on the terrace"). During the day, it is possible 
to recline comfortably in a garden, near an artifical 
lake (birka, fiskiyya and faskiyya) or in places close to 
running water, near pools and fountains (nafura, 
nawfara, fawwara, fiskiyya and faskiyya) and hydraulic 
wheels (na'-ura = noria; the more commonly found 
form is dawlab = wheel for raising water), which 

igned h 

r (from 

;ome kind of 

other, in the open ; 
building); some wheels of this type were constructed 
in such a way that their upper part was located in the 
basement of the houses of the wealthy, built on the 
bank of a river, while the base of each wheel dipped 
in the water. Although the principal role of such a 
wheel was the provision of water, it also served as an 
instrument for freshening the air in the house and, as 
is shown by a miniature of the 7th/13th century (see 
below, Fares), people enjoyed sitting around it. 
Similarly, the entire garden could lend its freshness to 

wall or when the architectural concept consisted of 
small pavilions spreading across a large garden. 

converted into a vaulted space and incorporated into 

and the architectural techniques which had as their 
sole purpose the bestowing of their benefits on the 
house, see al-Sari al-Raffa', Di'wdn, new ed. 1981, i, 
326, 362, 438-9, ii, 129, 278, 316, 822; Ibn Abi'Awn, 
Tashbihat, 254-5; al-Nawadji, Halba, 286-95; al- 
Ghuzull, Matdli c , i, 35-40, 41-5; al-Badri al- 
nashki, Nuzha, passim; Lane, Manners, 10, 14 (in 

e Islar 



it pool of the ! 
a water-jet); Le Lortet, Syne, 575, 578; Levi- 
Provencal, Hist. Esp. Mas., 279-82; H. Peres, Poe'sie, 
150, 152, 202-5, J. Dickie, in BSOAS, xxxi, 240-1; A. 
Lezine, in BEO, xxiv, 11-2; A. Mazaheri, Vie quoti- 
dienne, 75, 82-4; al-Hanl, Suwar ^abbdsiyya, 51, 55, 61, 
65 (!), and the miniature found in B. Fares, Vision. 
Plate ii (wheel "entering" a princely residence; there 
is no need to take seriously the interpretations of the 
author, refuted elsewhere by D.S. Rice, in Burlington 
Mag. [April 1953]); cf. Ettinghauscn, Peinture arabe, 
127; Titley, Minatures from Persian manuscripts, 545 
(index) "Wheels", "Water-wheels"; idem, Plants and 
gardens, passim, especially 8-9. 

3. Wind vents, badhhancg and methods of 
humidification. In the court of the c Abbasids, a 
technique was invented for the use of tightly stretched 

sprayed with water (al-Tha c alat»\ LalaHj, ed. De 
Jong, 14-15, tr. Bosworth, 48; al-Djahiz, Rasa^iUd. 
C A.-S. Harun, states that the Sasanid kings were 
unaware of this technique; al-Sari al-Raffa 3 , op. cit. , i, 
272, 426, ii, 106, 205, describes a kind of cabin- 
pavilion (bayt and cf. below, the more complicated 
constructions) in khaysh (or in kittan = in linen); for 
other forms and sources, see khaysh). On the ventila- 
tion chimneys called bddhhandj_ or badgir, see badgir in 
Suppl. For illustrations, see figs. 1-6. 

4. Fans. In order to distinguish between small 
individual fans (see figs. 8-9) and the large fans 

operated by servants (see fig. 7), the sources call those 
of the former category "hand fan" (sometimes "palm 
fan") or specify the material from which it is made, 
i.e. palm-leaves, while the second category is called 
muwahat al-khaysh (khaysh fan; see khaysh). The 

square in shape (fig. 9); since the miniaturists mettcu- 

easily identified as the mirwahat al-khus = palm-leaf 
fan, described in the texts. The round shape is less 

Ottoman miniatures which depicts it belongs to a 

and the lady in question is, in fact Spanish, see fig. 8), 

talk o 


'Irak, are referring to a large linen cloth which i 
sprayed with water (sometimes perfumed) and whicl 
is attached to the ceiling with cords, which may 
unfolded as they are pulled; the wet cloth, continu 
to move automatically, freshens a small amount of i 
It is quite possible that the miniatures which vouch 

reflect the situation in wealthy homes more accural 
than does al-Sharishi (copied by other authors, 
Mez, loc. cit.; al-Djahiz, tr. Pellat, Le lime des ava 
316-17; and khaysh); even the analogi 


son. Sim 

r to the 


separable elements: an apparatus of khaysh, which was 
moistened and which freshened the air in the room, 
and a large fan (not wet, apparently) which the ser- 
vants (Jarrdshun) operated to spread the fresh air 
throughout the house (al-Tanukhi, Farad}., ed. al- 
ShaldjI, i, 390). N. Titley (see below) describes certain 
kinds of fans, represented in Persian miniatures, as 
being made of feathers. It seems that the distinction 
between fans and fly-whisks is unclear (this "confu- 
sion" existed even in ancient times; see Daremberg 
and Saglio, Dictionnaire des antiquites, under flabellum 
and muscarium; even al-ShaldjI, loc. cit. , makes no 

midhabba; see also MPat layla wa-layla, ed. Tarshiina, 
78: al-madhdnib wa 'l-mazawih to be read al-madhabib wa 
'l-narawih marawih). Thus the identification of 
feathers, in the sense of primary material, could refer 
to a wide range of fans/fly- whisks. Furthermore, fly- 
whisks (and possibly fans, at the same time, see figs. 
10-14) could themselves, in turn, be mistaken for 
regal accoutrements (see especially, fig. 12, in which 
the objects in question are held in a heraldic manner, 
as it were, on either side of a prince), but the presence 
of a servant (or two), standing behind the prince or at 
his side, holding a fly-whisk, in order to throw into 
relief the royal appearance of the person, does not 
mean that the object cannot also serve a useful pur- 
pose (on fans and fly-whisks in the written sources [for 

Diwdn, 8; al-Sarl al-Raffa 5 , op. cit., i, 426,Ti, 29o' 
556; al-Shabushtl, Diyardt, 185; al-Raghib al- 
Isfahanl, Muhddardt, ii, 381; al-Hariri, Makdmdt, ed. 
de Sacy, 544; al-Warrak al-HazIrl, Ahdajt, ms. 
Topkapi Sarayi, A. 2419, fol. 12a-b; al-Sharlshl, 
Sharh Makdmat al-Harlri, ed. M. Ibrahim, v, 57-8; al- 
NawadjI, op. cit., 176; al-QhuzulI, op. cit., i, 64-5). 

These methods of cooling and ventilation (such as 
the use of fans of various sizes and wetted fibres) are 
still in use, but with the introduction of modern air 
conditioning, they are gradually disappearing. 

5. Iconography. Sources of the figs.: ms. Len- 
ingrad, Acad, des Sc, S. 23, pp. 27, 29, 30, 32, 44, 
46, 49, 89, 90, 93, 95, 103, 318 (see also the hand- 
written remarks in D.S. Rice's bequest at the Mayer 
Institute); mss. Paris, B.N., Ar. 3929, fols. 120a, 
157a, 173a, 179a; Ar.5847, fols. 42a, 148b, 152a; Ar. 
6094, fols. 31a, 133b; mss. Istanbul, Esad Ef. 3683, 
fols. 4a, and Revan, 1062, fol. 153a; mss. London, 
B.L., Add. 7293, fol. 87a, Turk. 7094, fol. 7a 
(Ottoman art); ms. Vienna, N.B., Af. 9. fols. 8b, 
20b; Blochet, Painting, fig. clxxxvii; B.W. Robinson et 
alii, Islamic painting and the art of the book, pis. 46, 124; 
Titley, Miniatures from Turkish mss., 78: yelpaze; idem, 
Miniatures from Persian mss., 248 (index): s.v. "fans"; 
R. Hattox, Coffee and coffee houses, pi. 6 (see in the cen- 
tre, to the right; photo taken from the Turkish ms., 
Chester Beatty, 439, fol. 9); see also A.V.W. Jackson, 
Cat. of Persian miniatures, section v, first plate (Persian- 



Bibliography: Given in the article. 

0. Sadan) 

MIRYAM [see maryam]. 

MIRZA or Mirza, a Persian title, from Mir-zdda or 
Amir-zdda, and originally meaning "born of a 
prince" (cf. Malik-zdda and Sarhang-zdda, which 
occur in Sa c dl, etc.). 

1. In Persian usage. The title, in addition to 
bearing its original significance, was also given to 
noblemen and othersof good birth, thus correspond- 
ing to the Turkish Agha. Since the time of Nadir 
Shah's conquest of India, it has been further applied 
to educated men outside of the class of mullas or 

Encyclopaedia of Islam, VII 

beari ' 

5- Hu 


'■ulama?. In modern ti 
is placed after the na 

"Prince Husayn", whereas Mirza Husayn is prac- 
tically equivalent to "Mr. Husayn". (R. Levy) 

2. In Indian usage. The title Mirza is accorded 
by Indian historians, not before Mughal times, to (a) 
close kinsmen of the Mughal ruling house, such as the 
brothers of Babur, Humayiin and Akbar (later 
princes tend to have the title sultan); Gulbadan 
Begam, Humdyun-ndma, ed. and tr. A.S. Beveridge, 
text 9, tr. 90, speaks of Babur's order to address him 
as a bddshdh after the birth of Humayiin rather than as 
"Mirza Babur", for previously "all kings' sons were 
called mirzas" (hama bddshahzddhd^i-ra mirza miguftand); 
(b) others in the Tlmurid line, for example Husayn 
Mirza = [Sultan] Husayn Mirza b. Mansur b. 
Baykara [q.v.\, of Khurasan: the turbulent group who 
opposed Akbar in Gudjarat, and the Mirzas of 
Badakhshan, both referred to in the article mirzas; (c) 
some descendants of the Safawid house, e.g. Mirza 
Muhammad Husayn son of Bahram son of Shah 
Isma'Il I of Persia, who joined Akbar at the cession of 
Kandahar 1003/1595; and his (abler) brother Rustam 
Mirza, who joined Akbar in 1001/1593, and held 
several appointments under Akbar, Djahanglr and 
Shahdjahan before his death in 1051/1641; (d) 
members of other royal houses: the title Mirza was 
held by the Arghiin house, the sultans of Sindh and 
their successors: Mirza DjanI Beg was governor of 
Sindh under Akbar, his son Mirza GhazI Beg under 
Akbar and Djahanglr [see arghun; also sindh; tar- 
khan; thattha]; (e) certain Mughal nobles, 
apparently merely as a mark of royal favour: the 
Khan-i Khanan, <Abd al-Rahlm [q.v. ], son of Bayram 
Khan, was known first as Mirza c Abd al-Rahlm, and 
later entitled Mirza Khan; his four sons bore the title 
Mirza; Mirza Yusuf Khan [see yusuf khan], son of 
Mir Ahmad-i Radawl, who from 995/1587 was gover- 
nor of Kashmir; Akbar's foster-brother Mirza c AzIz 
Koka [q.v.], whose father was certainly not of noble 
birth, and his five sons; even favoured Hindus bore 
the title: Man Singh [q.v.] was familiarly referred to 
as Mirza Radja. A mosque inscription in Munger 
[q.v.] of 1074/1663-4 uses the rare feminine form mir- 
zdni'm describing its foundress (Qeyamuddin Ahmad, 
Corpus of Arabic and Persian inscriptions in Bihar, Patna 
1973, 269-70). 

In modern times in India and Pakistan, the 
prefixed Mirza is particularly used by men of the 
Mughal division of Ashraf Muslims. 

Bibliography: See those to the various mirzas. 
(J. Burton-Page) 

MIRZA AHMAD KHAN, Indian Muslim 
noble and traveller to the West, the son of 
Nawwab Mu c azzaz Khan (Nawwab in 1769), 
descended from c Abd Allah Beg, the Mughal gover- 
nor of Broach, a town in Gudjarat [see bharoc], 
situated on the right bank of the Narbada river about 
30 miles from its mouth. 

Since the town of Broach was an important trading 
and manufacturing centre and the Nawwab would not 
allow the English to establish a factory there, the 
governor of Bombay decided to seize it. Under the 
pretext that the Nawwab had violated the treaty with 
the East India Company and insulted Morley, its 
representative, Broach was attacked and stormed on 
18 November 1772, and the state was annexed. As the 
Nawwab died soon afterwards, four of his sons 
decided to proceed to England and petition the 
Courth of Directors for the redress of the injustice 
done to their family. The governor of Bombay, 


having come to know of this, ordered their move- 
ments to be watched and later detained them. In spite 
of this, after five months, they managed to escape and 
boarded a ship which took them to Maskat [q.v.\ in 
'Uman. From there they went to Basra and, following 
the overland route via Baghdad, they arrived in Istan- 
bul, where two of the brothers, MIrza Anwar C A1I 
Khan and MIrza Wahid al-DIn Khan, decided to set- 
tle and gave up the idea of going to England. The 
other two, MIrza Nawazish Khan, the eldest, and 
MIrza Ahmad Khan, made up their minds to con- 
tinue the journey. Accordingly, they left Istanbul for 
Marseilles. On arriving there, early in 1794, the town 
authorities provided them with a carriage which took 
them to Lyons. Here MIrza Nawazish Khan fell ill 
and died after a prolonged illness. As by this time 
MIrza Ahmad's money had run out, he appealed to 
the town authorities for help. He was given money for 
his journey to Paris and, since he did not know 
French, he was given a companion named Francois 
who could converse a little in Persian. 

When MIrza Ahmad arrived in Paris in May 1794, 
the town was in the full grip of revolutionary fervour; 
so MIrza Ahmad appealed to the Committee of Public 
Safety for financial help and for news of his two 
brothers who were living in Istanbul, either at the 
Khankah of Nu'man Beg or with Darwlsh <Abd Allah 
Hindi. Since the Committee was anxious "to fulfil 
towards this foreigner the duty of hospitality", 
because the "French nation honours the unfor- 
tunate", it instructed the French ambassador in Istan- 
bul to obtain information about MIrza Ahmad's 
brothers and to convey to them news of their eldest 
brother's death. It also authorised the Minister of 
External Affairs to give MIrza Ahmad 1,200 livres so 
that he might be able to continue his journey to 
England. Furthermore, the Committee ordered that 
Francois, who, out of goodness of heart, had accom- 
panied MIrza Ahmad to Paris, should be sent back to 
his home in Lyons at the expense of government. 

Later, the Committee issued instructions to the 
Commissaire of External Affairs that, since the date of 
MIrza Ahmad's departure was uncertain, his stay in 
Paris must be made agreeable, and since he did not 
know French, Ruffin, Government Interpreter of 
Oriental Languages, should be asked to keep him in 
his house at Versailles as a paying guest and teach him 
French, which he was so anxious to learn. This would 
make him useful to the Republic. Ruffin was greatly 
impressed by MIrza Ahmad's intelligence, good 
education, frankness and honesty, and it was due to 
his suggestion that MIrza Ahmad's allowance was 
fixed at 360 livres per month, excluding the expenses 
for board and lodging. 

MIrza Ahmad learnt French in three months, and 
in gratitude for what the Republic had done for him, 
he paid his homage to it by translating the Declaration 
of the Rights of Man into Persian. He then presented it 
to the Committee of Public Safety, which by order of 
Robespierre and Danton, sent it to be deposited in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. It was felt that the learning 
and use of French language by a Muslim was a victory 
of French culture. This translation of the Declaration of 
the Rights of Man was the first to have been made in any 
Oriental language. Unfortunately, this document is 
not now traceable in the Oriental Section of the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. 

Although the Revolutionary government of France 
was opposed to kings, princes and nobles, it adopted 
an extremely generous attitude towards MIrza 
Ahmad. This was due partly to the ill-treatment he 
had received from their enemies and partly to the 

ideals of the French Revolution to help the underdog, 
the oppressed and the wronged. 

Meanwhile, before MIrza Ahmad was able to leave 
Paris, MIrza Wahid al-DIn Khan, one of his brothers 
whom he had left behind in Istanbul, arrived in Lon- 
don and claimed certain rights from the Company on 
behalf of himself and his brothers. All of his claims 
were not granted, but each brother was granted a sti- 
pend of Rs. 200.00 monthly. 

After this, MIrza Ahmad visited London and 
secured funds from the Company for carrying the 
body of his brother, who had died at Lyons, to India 
overland for burial beside his father's tomb. He was 
already suspected by the British authorities to be pro- 
French. The British Charge d'Affaires in Istanbul was 
firmly convinced that he was not only pro-French in 
his sympathies but was actively working as an agent 
on behalf of France. When, therefore, he reached 
Basra, the English Resident was suspicious and per- 
suaded him to embark on a ship for Bombay. On 
arrival at Bombay, MIrza Ahmad was handed over to 
the police "as a spy inimical to the British interests, 
and in collusion with our enemies". In 1798 he peti- 
tioned the Company which ordered the Bombay 
government to "examine his allegations and report 
thereon". It is not known what happened to him 
afterwards. Probably he died in obscurity, unable to 
do anything to promote the cause of the French 
Revolution in India. 

Bibliography: Minist'ere des Affaires Etrangeres, 
Archives et Documentation: Memoirs and Documents, 
vol. xviii, 20; Archives Nationales: Archives des 
Affaires Etrangeres, Vol. xx; India Office, 
Despatch to Bombay (Public Department), 30 May 
1794; Despatch to Bombay (Public Department), 
17 February 1797 (paras. 28 and 29); Despatch to 
Bombay (Political Department), 20 March 1799 
(para. 7); Despatch to Bombay (Public Depart- 
ment), 20 May 1799 (para. 30); Letter received 
from Bombay (Public Department), 19 January 
1796 (paras. 173a to 183); Letters received from 
Bombay, 22 August 1796, Public Consultations; 
Letters received from Bombay (Political Depart- 
ment), 18 December 1796 (para. 27); G.W. Forrest 
(ed.), Selections from the Letters, Despatches, and other 
State papers preserved in the Bombay Secretariat, Home 
Series, i, 389; M.S., Commissariat, A history of 
Gujarat, 2 vols., i, 1938, ii, 1957. 



MIRZA C ASKARI, Mughal prince, the third 
son (neglecting infant deaths), of the emperor Babur 
[q.v.], full brother of Kamran MIrza [q.v.] and half- 
brother of the emperor Humayun [q.v.] and Hindal 
MIrza [q.v.], born 922/1516 in camp, as his sobriquet 
indicates, died 965/1558. 

He received his first military command at the age 
of 12, during Babur's eastern campaigns beyond the 
Ganges. After Humayun's succession in 937/1530, 
Kamran was assigned Kandahar, but left c AskarI in 
command there when he moved to attack Humayun's 
possessions in Lahawr; but a couple of years later we 
find c AskarI in Agra, whence he was sent against the 
GudjaratI invaders under Tatar Khan LodI, and had 
some success against a weakened force at Mandrayl 
south-west of Agra. He accompanied Humayun on 
the conquest of Gudjarat in 942/1535, and was 
appointed governor of Ahmadabad; but after 
Humayun had left to quell disturbances in the 
recently-acquired Mandu, the GudjaratI army 
regrouped and c AskarI abandoned his camp, hoping 
to capture the treasury at Campaner before making 
for Agra, where his advisers had suggested that he 


declare his independence. The Mughal gove 





lor of 
withstood c Askari's army, and advised Humayun of 
the state of affairs. Since rebellion had broken out in 
the eastern provinces, Humayun greeted 'Askari with 
a show of forgiveness, and they moved together 
towards Bengal; but they were outgeneralled by Shir 
Khan (946/1539) and only with difficulty made their 
way back to Agra. Pursued by Shir's army, the 
Mughals were forced into exile, and Kamran, having 
shown his treachery to Humayun by entering into 
negotiations with Shir Khan, resumed his governor- 
ship at Kabul accompanied by c AskarI. After 
Humayun's abortive Sind campaign with MIrza Hin- 
dal, Kamran attacked Badakhshan; the governor of 
Kandahar made the town over to Hindal, whereupon 
Kamran took Kandahar and sent Hindal prisoner to 
Kabul, where he appointed c Askari as governor. 
c Askan restored the defences of Kandahar, and 
instigated the Baluc chiefs to attack Humayun. 
Kamran proclaimed himself emperor and struck coins 
in Kabul and Kandahar; when eventually he was cap- 
tured (956/1549) at Kabul, c Askari, who had sided 
with his full brother, was also taken, and after a period 
of confinement was sent to Mecca on pilgrimage in 
958/1551, and died between there and Damascus in 
965/1558. He was a weak creature, easily led (he was 
much in Kamran's shadow), of no great courage; 
Gulbadan Begam merely calls him "unjust" 

Bibliography: Gulbadan Begam, Humayun- 
nama, text and Eng. tr. A.S. Beveridge, London 
1902, index; Tuzuk-i Baburi, Eng. tr. Beveridge, 
London 1922, index; MIrza Haydar Dughlat, 
Ta^rikh-i Rashidi, passim; Bada'unI, Muntakhab al- 
tawdrikh, index; Nizam al-Dln Ahmad, Tabakat-i 
Akbari, must be used with caution, as he is a par- 
tisan of c AskarI, his father having been c AskarI's 
wazir\ Ahmad Yadgar, TaMkh-i SaldtTn-i Afdghina, is 
derivative, almost entirely copied from Tabakat-i 
Akbari. _ (J. Burton-Page) 

MIRZA C AZIZ "KOKA" (ca. 949-1033/™. 1542- 
1624) (the sobriquet occurs also in the Turk! form 
kokaltash or kokaldash, "foster-brother"), the son of 
the Mughal Emperor Akbar's wet-nurse Djldjl 
Anaga, who rose to prominence in the Mughal court, 
army and administration. His exact date of birth is 
not recorded, but it must have been within a month 
or two of Akbar's in 949/1542; his father was Shams 
al-DIn Ahmad Ghaznawl, who had been advanced to 
favour after saving Humayun's life in the river cross- 
ing at the battle of Kanawdj. When Djldjl Anaga was 
entrusted with the infant Akbar, Shams al-DIn 
received the title of Atga Khan, and was thereafter 
prominent in the Mughal court, eventually becoming 
chief minister. c AzIz would therefore have been 
brought up in the court with his play-fellow Akbar, 
and certainly became Akbar's favourite foster- 
Like many others of the "foster-father cohort" (alga 
khayl) c AzIz had held an assignment in the Pandjab; 
when, after the murder of Atga Khan. Akbar decided 
to disperse the atga khayl to distant assignments in 
976/1568, c AzIz was the only courtier to retain one in 
the Pandjab, at DIpalpur. After Akbar's conquest of 
980/1573, when Gudjarat [q.v.] had become a 
Mughal suba, c Aziz was appointed its first subadar. His 
first viceregal period was distinguished by the 
cadastral survey and settlement of Gudjarat under 
Todar Mall [q.v.], and by further disaffection of the 
Mlrzas [q.v.], firstly in Pafan, quelled by 'Aziz with 
the Malwa army, and then Khambayat (Cambay); 

the Mlrzas finally besieged c AzIz in Ahmadabad when 
Akbar himself arrived from Fathpur SikrI rapidly, by 
forced marches, and raised the siege. c AzIz was 
recalled to the Mughal court after two years, to join 
a projected expedition to Badakhshan; but when it 
was discovered that he had made no attempt to 
enforce Akbar's new regulation on branding the 
cavalry horses (d^in-i ddgh, in AHn-i Akbari, ch. 7), and 
remained antagonistic to it, he was deprived of his 
office and confined to his house at Agra. He was par- 
doned in 986/1578, and sent two years later, with an 
increased mansab [q.v.] and the title of Khan-i A c zam, 
to quell disturbances in Bihar and Bengal where local 
officials had inflamed resentment against Akbar on 
hearing of his vacillating attitude towards Islam. After 
he had restored order he returned to Agra in 
989/1581; but his absence led to a recrudescence of 
rebellion in Bihar and he was forced to return. 

In Gudjarat the ex-sultan Muzaffar III had raised 
an army (including disaffected Mughals in protest at 
the branding regulation) and had occupied 
Ahmadabad in 991/1583, and the suppression of this 
revolt was the first duty to fall to c AzIz on his second 
appointment as subadar of Gudjarat in 998/1590; his 
brilliant success next year at the battle of Bhucar 
Mori, near Dhrol in Sorafh, effectively ended the 
rebellion, and 'Aziz went on to subjugate the chiefs of 
Kacch, although Muzaffar continued to evade 'Aziz's 
troops until his final capture and suicide in 1001/1593 
(full details in J. Burton-Page, '■Aziz and the sack of 
Dwdrkd..., in BSOAS, xx [1957], 145-57). By this time 
c AzIz had brought all of Sorafh, formerly feudatory, 
under full Mughal control. He was recalled to court; 
but by this time Akbar had promulgated his new 
"divine faith" [see din-i ilahi], and rather than 
subscribe to it he made a pretence of marching on 
DIw, where in fact he joined a pilgrim vessel for the 
Hadjdl, with a vast retinue including his six younger 
sons; but he was so fleeced in Mecca that he became 
lukewarm towards Islam, and rejoined Akbar in India 
in early 1003/1594. He accepted the Dln-i Ilahi, 
became governor of Bihar, and the next year was 
appointed wakil of the empire. In 1008/1599 he was 
appointed to Gudjarat for a third term of office; but 
he remained at Agra, governing the province through 
his two eldest sons MIrza Shams al-DIn and MIrza 
Shadman (and other sons held djagirs, or were 
appointed to minor offices, elsewhere in Gudjarat), 
and remained in office until Akbar's death in 

Sallm, Akbar's eldest son, succeeded to the throne 
as Djahanglr, although some of the court nobles, 
including c AzIz and Man Singh [q.v.], had been anx- 
ious to proclaim Sallm's son Khusraw; the latter 
broke away from his confinement and went into open 
rebellion, but in spite of his popularity he was no 
match for the imperial forces, and was captured easily 
and blinded. 'Aziz's disgrace was compounded by the 
production of a letter he had written some years 
before in severe condemnation of Akbar's religious 
innovations; he was deprived of all offices and 
imprisoned. However, in 1017/1609, he was restored 
to his rank and appointed in the suba of Gudjarat for 
a fourth term, with the proviso that he should govern 
through his eldest son Shams al-DIn, who had 
received the title of Djahanglr Kull Khan; two years 
later he was sent to the Deccan campaigns, but the 
jealousy of Prince Khurram (later Shahdjahan) 
resulted in his recall and imprisonment in Gwaliyar; 
again restored to his rank, he served again in 
Gudjarat in a subordinate capacity, and died in 
Ahmadabad in 1033/1624. 


c AzIz is celebrated as a scholar and a wit, a poet, 
and a distinguished general, honest, fearless, but 
short-tempered and outspoken. He is remembered for 
the construction of a great water-tank, the Khan 
Sarowar, at Patan in Gudjarat, and is buried within 
a great marble pavilion (Cawnsafh Khambe) inside 
the complex at the shrine of Nizam al-DTn Awliya 3 at 
Dihll [?.».]. 

Bibliography: The fullest account of the life of 
c AzIz is in Mahathir al-umara\ Bibl. Ind. ed., i; 
copious references in Abu '1-Fadl, Akbar-ndma, and 
c Abd al-Kadir Bada'unl, Muntakhab al-tawdnkh, 
index. H. Beveridge, 'Aziz Koka, in JRAS (1921), 
205-8, is a mere short character sketch. Background 
to c AzIz's viceregal periods in Gudjarat is well 
covered in M.S. Commissariat, History of Gujarat, ii, 
Bombay, etc. 1957. See also Bibl. to akbar, and 
other references in the article. 

Q. Burton : Pa_ge) 

MIRZA HAYDAR DUfiHLAT [see haydar 

MIRZA HINDAL [see hindal mirza]. 
MIRZA KAMRAN [see kamranmTrza] . 
Akbar [see muhammad hakim, mirza]. 

MIRZA MUHAMMAD ZAMAN, brother-in-law 

MIRZA RAFI'A, Muhammad b. Haydar, 
Husaynl Tabataba'I Na'Inl (988-1083/1580-1673), 
Persian scholar of the time of the Safawid Shahs 
Sulayman I and Saff II (1077-1105/1666-92). He was 
versed in the ShT 1 ! religious jurisprudence, theology 
and literature as well as in the current philosophy of 
his time, and was regarded as the master of the 
philosophers and theologians of his time. He lived 
about 95 years and died in Isfahan on 3 Shawwal 
1083/22 January 1673, and was buried in the Takht-i 
Fulad, the famous cemetery of the city. 

He was a pupil of Mulla c Abd Allah Shushtarl (d. 
10 Muharram 1020/25 March 1611), Shaykh Baha> 
al-DIn Muhammad c AmilT (953-1031/1546-1622) and 
Mir Abu '1-K.asim Findiriski AstarabadJ (d. 1049 or 
1050/1639-40). Muhammad Hurr c AmilI (1033- 
1 104/1624-93) and Muhammad Bakir Madjlisl(1027- 
1110/1618-98) were among his famous pupils. Mirza 
Abu '1-Hasan Djllwa (1238-1314/1823-96), a philoso- 
pher of the Kadjar period, regarded himself as a 
descendant of Mirza RafFa and as his follower. 

Mirza RafT-a wrote both in Arabic and Persian. 
Among his works in Arabic, the following may be 
mentioned: (1) A commentary on Kullnl's Kafi, 
which he started writing but failed to complete. He 
seems to have been engaged in this work till 
1069/1658-9. His theological and literary method can 
be seen in this commentary. (2) A treatise on the 
analogy of the essentialities, in which he criticises 
Mulla Sadra SJnrazI's ideas. (3) A commentary on 
TQsI's Shark al-Ishdrdl. (4-5) Commentaries on the 
KawdHd al-ahkdm and al-Mukhtalif, both by 'AUama al- 
Hilll. (6) A commentary on Ibn al-Hadjib's al- 
Mukhiasarfi 'l-usul. (7) A commentary on al-Sahija al- 
sa djdid diyya. 

Apart from the above-mentioned works, he wrote 
three books in Persian: (1) A catechism in which he 
replied to the questions put forward by Sayyid Mahdl 
b. Sayyid Rida Husaynl on jurisprudence. (2) The 
Shadjara al-ildhiyya on Shr 1 ! theology written in 
1047/1637-8 and dedicated to Shah Sulayman. It has 
an introduction, consisting of two chapters, and eight 
subjects (matlab) (published in Djawidan Khirad, ii/2 
[1970], 38-61); a summary of the preceding named 

Thamara-yi SJiadjariyya al-ilahiyya was written in 
1070/1659, consisting of an introduction, five subjects 
(maksad) and a conclusion (published in 'Amiri-nama, 
Tehran 1353/1974, 274-321). Mirza Ibrahim Adham 
(1 lth/17th century) has a eulogy in prose about Mirza 
Raffa, the manuscript of which is in the Central 
Library of Tehran University (no. 3294/4). 

Bibliography: Muhammad b. C AH Ardablll, 
Djpmi" al-ruwat, Tehran 1956; Muhammad Husayn 
Khatunabadl, Manakib al-fudald* ft riydd al-'ulamd', 
Tehran, Madjlis Library ms. 5501/6; Muhammad 
Bakir Kh w ansarl, Rawddt al-djannat, Tehran 1850, 
360, 613; Muhammad Husayn Nun, Musladrak al- 
wasdHl, Tehran 1903; idem, al-Fayd al-kudsi, 
Tehran 1887; Aka Buzurg TihranI, al-Dharfa ild 
tofanif al-Shta, Tehran 1968, xvi, 404, 1974, xxii, 
333; c Abd al- c Az!z Djawahir al-Kalam, Fihrist-i 
Kildbkhana-yi Ma'arif (Milli), Tehran 1934, i; Ibn 
Yusuf SJiIrazI, Fihrist-i Kitabkhana-yi Madrasa-yi 
Sipahsalar, Tehran 1936, i; Wala'I, Fihrist-i 
Kitabkhana-yi Astdn-i Kuds-i Radawi (Mashhad), 
Mashhad 1950, v, 109, 335, 414. 

(M.T. Danesh Pajuh) 
MIRZA TAKI KHAN [see amir kabir, in 

MIRZA'I, an appellation, somewhat contemp- 
tuous, given in India to a follower of Mirza G_hulam 
Ahmad of Kadiyan; see ahmadiyya. 

MIRZAPUR, a district and town in the Uttar 
Pradesh province, formerly the United Provinces, of 
the Indian Union, forming a district in the Benares 
division of that province, with an area of 5,238 sq. 
miles, and with a population (1971 census) of 731,403 
for the district and 80,768 for the town. Some 7% of 
the population are Muslims, and have shown a 
tendency to increase in proportion to the Hindus, 
owing to their greater vitality, containing as they do 
a smaller proportion of the very poor. The district is 
however a stronghold of Hinduism, and Islam makes 
little progress by conversion. Nothing is known of the 
early history of the district. It was occupied by the 
Radjputs in the 11th century A.D. and in the next 
century passed into the power of the Muslim rulers of 
Djawnpur [q.v.]. Down to the Mughal conquest, the 
district played an important part in the military 
history of India, as it contained the great stronghold 
of Cunar which guarded the gateway of the east. 

At Rasulpur near Ahraura is the tomb of a Muslim 
martyr called Sayyid Ashraf C A1I which is a place of 
pilgrimage. Near the gateway of the fort of Bidjaigafh 
is shown the tomb of Sayyid Zayn al- c AbidIn, the 
saint who miraculously took the stronghold for Sher 
Shah. The town of Cunar contains two mosques, at 
one of which are preserved garments said to have 
belonged to Hasan and Husayn. The tomb of the 
Afghan saint Shah Kasim Sulaymanl(952-1015/1545- 
1606) with those of his family forms a group of 
buildings of architectural interest. His festival is 
celebrated on 17-21 Djumada I of each year. 

MIrzapur city (lat. 25°9' N., long. 82°35' E.) is 
the capital of the district of the same name; of its 
population, a sixth are Muslims. It is a Mughal foun- 
dation dating from late in the llth/17th century: in 
the 12th/18th and early 19th centuries it attained great 
prosperity as a trading centre, being at the junction of 
important roads and at the highest point of the 
Ganges reached by the larger ships. During the 
Mutiny of 1857-8, it remained quiet under a garrison 
of loyal troops. In 1864 the opening of the East India 
Railway left the town isolated; after then it declined, 
as the railway then carried the trade with which it 
used to deal. 

Among the mosques is one founded in the middle 


of the 19th century by a Muslim lady named Ganga 
BIbl, who also left funds to build a sardy. The town 
contains the celebrated Hindu shrine of Vindhesvarl, 
much visited by pilgrims and formerly held in special 
veneration by thugs. 

Bibliography: D.L. Drake-Brockman, District 
gazetteer o/Mirzapur, Allahabad 1911; Imperial gazeteer 
oJIndia\ xvii, 366-77. Q. Allan*) 

MIRZAS, the name commonly given by Indian 

it far 


cent, troublesome especially in the 10th/16th cen- 
tury, in the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar, to 
whom they were mostly sixth cousins, as descendants 
of c Umar Shaykh Mirza, the second son of TTmur 
(Akbar was descended from Djalal al-Dln Miran 
Shah, the third son of TImur). Abu '1-Fadl and 
Badau'nl refer to them as mirzdyan, and HadjdjI al- 
Dabir as awlad Mirza Muhammad Timur Sultan. There 
may be confusion in the texts when one of them is 
spoken of in the singular, since any of the personages 
spoken of in mirza above may also be commonly 
referred to as "the Mirza" {mirzaH). The MIrzas of 
Badakhshan are also considered here, but only with 
regard to their involvement in Indian affairs. 

1. The MIrzas of Gudjarat. 

The accompanying stemma makes their relationship 
clear; it might be added that Ibrahim Husayn Mirza 
was married to Gulrukh Begam, daughter of Mirza 
Kamran; and that Uways Mirza was married to the 

daughter of Sultan Husayn Mirza, the ruler of 

The six sons of Muhammad Sultan Mirza had all 
been provided with iktd c s in the Sambhal and 
A c zampur districts; but (probably presuming too 
much on their royal kinship, and profiting from 
Akbar's absence from the capital to repel the advance 
of Muhammad Hakim from Kabul to LShawr) they 
spread outside their own iktaH and attempted to 
occupy crown (khalifa) lands. From these they were 
dispossessed by the Mughal general Mun'im Khan 
[q.v.], and fled first to Malwa, in 974/1567 (whose 
governor was absent with Akbar in the north) and 
occupied some important towns and districts. They 
were pursued to Mandu, and thence fled to Gudjarat 
early in 975/1567. Akbar punished their revolt by 
imprisoning their father Muhammad Sultan Mirza at 
Bayana, where he died within a short time. By the end 
of the year it was reported that these MIrzas, with the 
two sons of Ulugh Mirza, had again invaded Malwa 
and were besieging Udjdjayn. Reports of the 
disturbed conditions under the collapsing Gudjarat 
sultanate caused their return to Gudjarat, where they 
consolidated their hold over the next two years [see 
gudjarat for a general description of the situation 
during the following years and for the conditions of 
the decline from which the MIrzas sought to profit]. 

Here they assisted Cinghiz Khan, most able of the 
GudjaratI nobles, who at that time held Surat, Nan- 









Muhammad Sultan 

Muhammad Ibrahim 

Husayn Husayn 


dod and Campaner (while his brother-in-law, Rustam 
Khan, held Bharoc), in raising an army against 
I c timad Khan (the local king-maker, regent for the 
minor puppet king Muzaffar III), and were rewarded 
by ikfd'-s around Bharoc; I c timad Khan thereupon 
invited Akbar, then at Citawr, to invade Gudjarat. 
On the invasion of Gudjarat by Muhammad II of 
Khandesh, asserting his claim to the throne, Muham- 
mad's armies were defeated by the combined forces of 
Cinghiz Khan and the Mlrzas; the latter were 
rewarded by the grant of further iktdh, but unfor- 
tunately, as had happened before, they encroached on 
their neighbours' estates, and earned an unenviable 
reputation for their cruelty in Bharoi, so that Cinghiz 
Khan sent a force against them; they defeated it, but 
removed themselves temporarily into Khandesh, 
where they plundered Burhanpur before retiring into 
Malwa. They were attacked here by forces under 
several Mughal generals, were besieged in Rantham- 
bhor, which they had occupied, and were pursued to 
the river Narmada, where many of the Mlrzas' army 
died during the crossing. However, they soon 
returned to take over their Bharoc' lands. Cinghiz 
Khan, who was by now virtually in command of 
Ahmadabad, was assassinated by a Habshi [q.v.] fac- 
tion in 975/1567; after his death all the country south 
of the river Mahi fell to the Mlrzas, who took over not 
only Bharoc but also Surat, Baroda and Campaner. 
After Akbar's conquest of Gudjarat he decided in 
980/1572 to expel the Mlrzas from southern Gudjarat. 
At this time, Ibrahim Husayn Mirza was established 
in Baroda (dissensions having broken out between the 
Mlrzas in Bharoc), Muhammad Husayn Mirza in 
Surat and Shah Mirza in Campaner. Akbar's troops 
defeated Ibrahim Husayn Mirza, who fled towards 
Agra, though his wife Gulrukh Begam fled with her 
son Muzaffar Husayn Mirza to the Deccan. Akbar 
moved on to invest Surat, leaving Mirza c AzIz Koka 
[q.v. ] in charge of Ahmadabad; when Muhammad 
Husayn Mirza and Shah Mirza, having joined Sher 
Khan FuladI, a disaffected Gudjarat! noble, moved to 
besiege Patan, 'Aziz attacked and defeated them, 
whereupon Muhammad Husayn Mirza fled to the 
Deccan. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Husayn Mirza, with 

his younger brother Mas c ud Husayn Mirza, at 1 
tried unsuccessfully to take Nagawr [q.v.] 
Radjasthan, and then invaded the Pandjab; the local 

: defeated the Mlrzas' force 


Mas c ud Husayn Mirza. Ibrahim Husayn Mirza fled 
south to Multan, and was soon afterwards wounded 
and captured by some BalucT tribesmen; he was 
delivered into the hands of Mughal officials, and died 
of his wounds. 

After Akbar's return to Agra, Muhammad Husayn 
Mirza left the Deccan, and joined the conspiracy with 
some of the old nobles, the rebel Habshls, and the 
Radja of Idar [q.v.]. When they marched against 
Mirza c AzIz Koka in Ahmadabad, Akbar returned in 
his famous "forced march" of nine days, and routed 
the rebels in the battle of Ahmadabad in 981/1573. 
Muhammad Husayn Mirza was captured in the battle 
and, while Akbar was pursuing the remainder of the 
rebel forces, the Mirza was executed by his 

In 985/1577 the young Muzaffar Husayn Mirza 
invaded Gudjarat from the Deccan, but was first 
defeated by Radja Todar Mall [q.v.]; escaping to 
Djunagafh, he rallied his forces and again attacked 
Ahmadabad, but withdrew and was shortly after- 
wards captured by Radja C A1I of Khandesh and 
handed over to Akbar. He was imprisoned for some 
12 years, when Akbar released him, and appointed 
him in charge of Kanawdj; but he was unstable, and 
after two further terms of imprisonment he died a 
natural death some ten years later. This is the last 
account of Mirza disturbances in Gudjarat, which 
thereafter remained largely peaceful under Mughal 

2. The Mlrzas of Badakhshan in India. 

The earlier history of this small house has been 
treated above under badakhshan. at Vol. I, p. 852b. 
Its members were never a thorn in the flesh of the 
early Mughals as were their kinsmen in Gudjarat, and 
they are considered here only with regard to their rela- 
tions with the Mughal power. A stemma indicates their 

The sultans Abu Bakr Mirza and Mahmud Mirza, 
the sons of Abu Sa c Id Mirza, were dispossessed by an 


C A1I Khan M. 

Bad? 1 al-Zaman M. 


usurper, who however submitted to the Mughal 
Babur [q.v.] in 910/1504-5. Babur then appointed 
Khan Mirza, son of Mahmud Mirza, as governor of 
Badakhshan; his son Sulayman Mirza (b. 920/1514, 
d. Lahawr 997/1589) later also served as governor of 
Badakhshan, but he and his son Ibrahim Mirza had 
to surrender to Mirza Kamran [q.v.]; he was, how- 
ever, released on Babur's orders, and reinstated. 
After some disagreement with Humayun [q.v.], he 
eventually held Badakhshan until 983/1575. In 
967/1560 he had invaded Balkh, when Ibrahim Mirza 
was killed. In early 983/1575 he was driven out of 
Badakhshan by Shahrukh Mirza, son of Ibrahim 
Mirza, and went first to India and thence to Mecca, 
but later returned. With the fall of Bada khsh an to the 
Ozbegs under c Abd Allah Khan in 992/1584, 
Sulayman Mirza and Shahrukh Mirza fled to India 
and joined Akbar's court. Shahrukh Mirza later 
became governor of Malwa and distinguished himself 
in the Deccan campaigns before his death in 
1016/1607. His son BadI* al-Zaman Mirza instigated 
a brief insurrection in Badakhshan early in the 
1 lth/1 7th century, which was quickly suppressed. 
Bibliography: For the general background to the 
Mirzas in Gudjarat, see that article, its map, and 
its Bibl., especially M.S. Commissariat, History of 
Gujarat, i, London 1938; Abu '1-Fadl c AUamI, 
Akbar-nama, especially the 1 1th, 12th, 13th and 17th 
regnal years; for Muzaffar Husayn Mirza and his 
later career, 22nd, 36th and 45th regnal years also; 
c Abd al-Kadir Bada'uni, Munlakhab al-tawdrikh, and 
Nizam al-DIn Ahmad, Tabakdt-i Akbari, passim, and 
indexes to both in the Bibl. Ind. editions. See also 
Bibl. to akbar and mughals. History. For the 
Mirzas of Badakhshan, see Bdbur-ndma, ed. 
Beveridge, London-Leiden 1905, index, and Bibl. 


MISAHA, c ilm al-, the science of measure- 
ment, plane and solid geometry, is the name 
given by the Muslims to the science of comparing 
magnitudes and its methods. In the wider sense it 
covers the measurement of all things which can or 

weights and numbers; in particular, however, the Him 
al-misdha deals with geometry, with definitions of 
solids and geometrical figures as well as the laying 
down of rules for the calculation of lengths, 
areas and volumes of the different figures in 
elementary plane and solid geometry. The con- 
ception misaha therefore includes only a portion of 
what we call measurement in the wider sense, or prac- 
tical or technical geometry (i.e. the measurement of 
things having length, breadth and volume); in par- 
geodesy. The Arabs possessed special treatises dealing 
with the problems of geodesy. They therefore make 
the same distinction between theoretical and applied 
measurement, which had developed among the 
Greeks from the time of Aristotle and is most clearly 
expressed by Hero in his Metrica and Dioptra. 

The definitions given by the Muslims themselves of 
the conception misaha are very varied. Some authors 
give a very wide one (e.g. al- c UmawI: "Measurement 
consists in ascertaining an unknown quantity by 
means of a known one. The result gives the amount 
of the unknown quantity in units of the quantity used 
for measuring"); most of them mean by it the 
measurement of length, area and volume. Al- 
Shinshawn makes a clear distinction between direct 
measurement, "the test of coincidence" (tatbik), and 
indirect measurement by calculating from certain 

We find treatises on geometry throughout the 
whole period in which the Muslims acted as the 
transmitters of the ancient culture with which they 
had become acquainted, from the earliest beginnings 
of their literary activity at the beginning of the 9th 
century A.D. to the decline of Arab mathematics in 
about 1600. The purpose of such works was to give 
the future surveyor, architect or soldier the necessary 
equipment, the theoretical foundation for his profes- 
sion. Three groups of these treatises can be distin- 
guished according to their method of treatment: 

(a) those which are quite like our modern collection 
of formulae, are made as brief as possible, give only 
the usual methods of calculation and contain no 
examples (e.g. that of Ibn al-Banna 3 ); 

(b) those which contain examples, completely 
worked out, illustrating the process of calculation (e.g. 
that of al-Baghdadl); 

(c) those which only contain a series of fully worked 
out problems, and are a kind of book of exercises (e.g. 
that of Abu Bakr). 

On the method of exposition in these works, it 
should be noted that we cannot of course speak of 
mathematical formulae in our sense of the word 
among the Arabs. They, especially the eastern Arabs, 
had no language of mathematical formulae; it was 
only late among the western Arabs, and probably only 
in the field of algebra, that a technical language was 
developed. The rules for measuring were always writ- 
ten out fully in words, sometimes even the figures 
occurring in the text. 

The matter of the works on misaha, especially the 
larger ones, as a rule comprise introductory remarks, 
rules for calculating areas and volumes and the most 
lengths found on them, and occasionally 

Uso pr. 

ctical e: 

Introductory remarks. These are as a rule: 

1 . Definition of the term misaha. 

2. Explanation, description and systemat 
classification of the geometrical figures to be di 

3. Definition and list of the i 


B. Rules for calculation. 

I. Plane surfaces (and the lengths occurring on 

1. Quadrilaterals (square, rectangle, rhomboid 
trapezium, trapezoid, quadrilateral with salient 

2. Triangles (equilateral, isosceles, scalene, right 
angled, acute-angled and obtuse-angled). 

3. Polygons (regular, irregular, "drum-shaped 
figure" (mutabbal), "hollow figure" (mua^awwif) 
"step-shaped figure" (mudarradj). 

"Drum-shaped" and "hollow" figures are formed 
by the combination of two congruent trapeziums in 
such a way that in the former the shorter, in the latter, 
the longer parallel sides coincide; a number of 
varieties are distinguished. The step-shaped figure is 
formed by placing together a number of rectangles of 
the same length but different breadth, in which the 
proportions of the breadths form an arithmetical pro- 

4. Circle, segments of a circle (semi-circle, seg- 
ment, sector, circumference) and related areas 
(horseshoe or crescent [hildli], egg-shape, bean- or 
lentil-shaped, or oval figures). 

The crescent is formed by the subtraction of two 
segments of circles of different radius with a common 
chord, egg-shape and bean-shape by the addition of 
two congruous segments which in the egg-shape are 
less, in the bean-shape greater than the semi-circle. 


a of the oval (ellipse) is given by Sava 

', (a + *)»«. 

II. Solids (and the areas, especially superficies, and 
lengths that occur on them). 

1. Prism (ordinary straight and oblique prism, 
square column, rectangular column, dice, triangular 
prism, obliquely cut prism, corpus simile domui in Abu 
Bakr as translated by Gerard of Cremona). 

2. Cylinder. 

3. Pyramids (straight and oblique pyramids, sec- 
tions of pyramids). 

4. Cones (straight and oblique cone, section of 

5. Sphere and section of a sphere, hemisphere, seg- 

6. Regular and semi-regular bodies (the five 
Platonic and two Archimedean are treated at any 
length only in al-Kashl). 

7. Other bodies, sc. cylindrical vault (azagj. and 
tikan; the only difference between them is the length), 
hollow dome (kubba), roof-shape (corpus simile caburi in 
Abu Bakr), wreaths and discus (hollow cylinder), and 
terrace-shaped figures. 

These are, generally speaking, rare in works on 
misaha. We frequently find exercises in dividing fields 
modelled on Hero and Euclid. Savasorda has a 
number of exercises on fields on slopes, in hollows and 
on summits and on the calculation of the height of 
hills; al-Hanball has some on the measurement of 
inaccessible pieces of ground, the depth of wells and 
breadth of rivers. Of other problems, there may be 
mentioned, for example, the calculation of the 
number of pieces of stone or bricks required to build 
and the ascertainment of the height 

of a 


er, be supposed that the subject- 
matter as above described is fully contained in any 
work on misaha. The individual works differ in subject 
matter according to the inclinations and abilities of 
their authors, just as our text-books of geometry do at 
the present day. We find works planned on a very 
comprehensive scale (by al-HanbalT and al-Kashl), 
alongside of very brief ones, often dealing only with 
portions of the subject (e.g. the anonymous Berlin ms. 
no. 5954, which contains only formulae for 
calculating plane surfaces), or even only a single 
problem (like the treatise by al-Shinshawn). We 
therefore often find expositions which are only put 
into works on geometry in order to show the author's 
special knowledge or results of his research in a par- 
ticular field. 

Among remarkable examples of this kind are the 
insertion by Djamshld al-Kashl [g.v.] in a work on 
misaha of a treatment of regular and some semi- 
regular bodies (the calculations worked out by him in 
sexagesimal fractions to the fifths is so accurate that it 
only begins to differ from the correct figure in the 
tenth decimal place); the formulae for the area of a 
surface given by al-UmawI F = yja b c d for 
trapezoids with a right angle and his improvement of 
Hero's formulae for the segments of a circle; the for- 
mula for an arc given by al-Karkhi; the formula d 2 = 
l/9[n(n-l) + 6)a 2 where d is the diameter of the circle 
around a regular polygon of n sides of length a given 
by the same author and al-Baghdadi (the same for- 
mula is found in Nemorarius and Regiomontanus and 
attributed by the latter to the Hindus; it is, however, 
so far as we know, not found in any Hindu 
mathematical work yet published); and also the 
application of algebra to geometry by Abu Bakr and 
Ibn al-Banna 3 . The former uses the algebraical solu- 

tion for problems of areas in order to show the 
application of equations of the first and second degree 
to the six cases distinguished by al-Kh w arazmi [g.v.]; 
the latter uses combinatorial analysis to investigate the 
different possibilities of stating the problem. 

The methods of calculating volume are the 
same as we find among the Greeks and Egyptians. 
When it is not a question of matter that has been 
taken over from them, in which case the formulae are 
directly adopted, the obtaining of results is purely 
inductive and empirical. Al-Karkhl, for example, 
gives for the volume of a sphere, in addition to the for- 
mulae d 3 (11/14) 2 , on the method of obtaining which 
he says nothing, also d> (28/45), which he gets by com- 
paring the weight of a cube of wax with the weight of 
a sphere, which is made out of the cube of wax and 
whose diameter is equal to the edge of the cube. Al- 
Baghdadi deals with a method of ascertaining the 
volume from the weight and specific gravity. Al-Kashl 
knows the method of immersion of Archimedes men- 
tioned by Hero. The direct method of measuring the 
length of areas by laying a thread along them is still 
recommended as the most reliable by al-Karkhl and 
Baha 5 al-Din. It is evident that such methods must 
lead to approximative results, and formulae of 
approximation, the typical feature of practical 
geometry, continue to be used by the Arabs in 
measuring long after they obviously knew of their 
inaccuracy. Ibn Mammati [g.v.] criticises the usual 
formulae for the area of a triangle 1/2 (a + b) 3/4 c 
and 1/2 (a + b) 2/3 c, al-BaghdadT the formulae for a 
quadrilateral 1/2 (a + c) 1/2 (* + d) which comes 
from the Egyptians. 

The reasons for the long survival of such rules are 
partly that the formulae gave in practice quite useful 
results and partly that the practical men who were 
concerned with measurement in the exercise of their 
trade wanted values easy to calculate rather than great 
mathematical accuracy, and took no note of slight 
errors, especially if they thereby avoided calculations 
with roots. For similar reasons and in keeping with 
the traditional practice, almost all works of misaha give 
no scientific geometrical proofs of the accuracy of the 
formulae they quote. Only the book of the Jew 
Abraham Savasorda, who may be reckoned among 
the western Arabs, gives logically worked-out proofs 
in any number; we occasionally find references to 
early mathematicians (especially Euclid) in Ibn al- 
Banna° and Ibn al-Hanbali. Probably inspection was 
quite sufficient ( c Abd al- c Aziz, for example, draws 
plane figures in a network of squares each of one unit 
and counts the squares and their parts within this 
area), or a simple demonstration in some form or a 
calculation to prove the correctness of the procedure, 
which was frequently illustrated also by examples 
completely worked out. 

A further peculiarity of Arabic authors was to give 
formulae which agree completely in substance in dif- 
ferent algebraical forms. The Berlin ms. no. 5954 
gives, for example, for the calculation of the section of 
the hypotenuse g in the right-angled triangle the 
following formulae: g = 1/2 [a + (c 2 -b 2 ): a] = 1/2 
[a + (c + b) (c-b): a] = 1/2 [ a + ( c + b): ^] = 1/2 

[a 2 + (c 2 -b 2 )]: a. This differentiation was probably 
only intended to give as many forms as possible of the 
relations between the known and unknown 
magnitudes so as to afford the practical man a choice 
of different correct formulae, of which one might suit 
the special case better than another. 

The sources of Arab geometry are to be sought 
among the Greeks and Hindus. The form and 

substance of the rules are almost entirely Greek, 
especially in the older authors. Hero's "elabora- 
tions", in particular, which in turn go back to Egypt, 
seem to have been the model for Arab works on 
geometry. To Egypt may be traced the prefacing of a 
metrological section (found in many books on misdha), 
the problems on dividing fields, the formula for the 
trapezoid, the special name for the upper side of a 
quadrilateral (ra^s al- c arid). Hindu are the val ues for 7t 
in al-Kh w arazmI. the formula %ja b c d, for the 
quadrilateral inscribed in a circle, the terms are, 
perpendicular from the summit of an arc and chord, 
the marking of lengths in Hindu figures, the use of 
algebra to solve geometrical problems (equations, 
method of double error, combinatorial analysis). The 
chief teachers were, however, the Greeks, whose 

ts the I 

rally speaking never 
:ms, and practical geomi 


:o geometry li 


unknown facts (although in the misdha works we do 
find a series of new and novel rules) than in their 
enrichment of this science by new methods of calcula- 
tion and teaching, and especially in their preserving 
the inheritance of the ancients and handing it down to 
the western world. Although Hero's geometry first 
became known in north-western Europe through 
Roman surveyors, it was mainly the Arab sources 
which gave new life to this subject which had become 
stagnant in its old form. Arabic original works were 
made accessible to the west in Latin translations. 
Leonardo of Pisa in his Practica geometrica, which 
remained a standard work for three centuries, 
depended closely on Savasorda, who most probably 
owed a great deal to Abu Bakr since there are striking 
similarities between the Liber embadorum and the Liber 
mensurationis; down to late in the 16th century, we con- 
tinually come across writings on practical geometry 
which in form and content show to what originals they 

Bibliography: a. I. Manuscripts; Arabic 

rarum el corporum continentur mensurationes Ababuchri 
(author presumably Abu Bakr, d. 4*7/1055; cf. H. 
Suter, Die Mathematiker und Astronomen der Araber, 
etc., in Abh. z. Gesch. d. math. Wissensch., xlv, 10. 
Heft (1900), no. 224), Cambridge, Univ. Library, 
Mm. ii. 18, fols. 69b-76a; 2. Liber Saydi abuothmi 
(author presumably Zayd Abu c Uthman, d. 
444/1052; Suter, no. 222); idem, fols. 76b-77a; 3. 
Liber aderameti (author presumably 'Uraar al- 
Hadraml, d. 449/1057; Suter, no. 227), idem, fols. 

II. Arabic works (the titles are given as translated 
by E. Wiedemann and J. Ruska): 1. Ibn al-Djiyab 
{ca. 1150) "Records of the measurement of sur- 
faces", Escurial, old no. 924, fols. l a -70 b ; 2. 'Imad 
al-DIn al-Baghdadl (d. 735/1335; Suter, no. 494), 
"Work on the science of measurement and the 
sharing of difficulties", Berlin 5976, fols. 17 a -26 a ; 
3. Ibn al-Banna' (d. 740/1339-40; Suter, no. 399), 
"Treatise on the doctrine of measurement, Berlin 
5945, fols. 70 b -73 a ; 4. anonymous, "Treatise on 
the principles of the doctrine of measurement" 
(written in 759/1358), Berlin 5953, fols. 56 b -59 a . 5. 
anon., "Treatise on the doctrine of measurement", 
Berlin 5954, fols. 85 b -95 b ; 6. Djamshld b. Mas'ud 
al-Kasht (d. 832/1429; Suter, no. 429), "Keys for 

the calculator in the science of arithmetic", Berlin 
5992, fols. 27*-48 b ; 7. Ya'ish b. Ibrahim al-Umawi 
(ca. 895/1490; Suter, no. 453), "Abolition of dif- 
ficulties in measurement", Berlin 5949, fols. 73 a - 
79"; 8. Ibn al-Hanball (d. 970/1563; Suter, no. 
464), "Marks of beauty in the problems of 
geometry", Paris 2474; fols. \*-5?,*; 9. c Abd Allah 
al-Shinshawrl (d. 999/1590-1; Suter, no. 472), 
"Comfort to the eyes in measuring the vessel which 
holds two kulla", Berlin 5951, fols. 1-12, Gotha 
1078, 1, and 1079. 

b. Studies: 1. M. Curtze, Der Liber Embadorum des 
Abraham bar Chijja Savasorda in der Ubersetzung des Plato 
von Tivoli, in Abh. z. Gesch. d. math. Wissensch. , Heft 
xii (1902); 2. A. Hochheim, "Kafifi 'l-Hisdb" des 
Abu Bekr al-Karchi, in Programm d. hd'h. Gewerbeschule 
Magdeburg, 9-11 (1878-80); 3. A. Marre, Lemessahat 
de Mohammed ben Mousse al-Khdrezmi, in Annali di 
Malematica, Rome 1865, vii, 269-70; 4. G.H.F. 
Nesselmann, Essenz der Rechenkunst von Mohammed 
Beha-eddin ben Alhossain, Berlin 1843; 5. Fr. Rosen, 
The Algebra of Moh. b. Musa, London 1831; 6. J. 
Ruska, Zur dltesten arabischen Algebra und Rechenkunst, 
in SB Heidelberger Akad. d. Wissensch. (1917); 7. E. 
Wiedemann, Beitrage z. Gesch. d. Naturwissensch. , 
xiv, Uber die Geometric und Arithmetik nach den Mafatih 
al-'Ulum, in SBPME, xl (1908); 8. idem, Beitrdge, 
xvii, Uber das Messen nach Ibn al-Haitam, in SBPME, 
xli (1909); 9. idem, Beitrage, xxi, Uber Vermessung 
nach Ibn Mammdli, in SBPME, xlii (1910). 

(H. Schirmer) 
MISAHA (a.), the measurement of plane sur- 
faces, also in modern usage, survey, the techni- 

'eying. In this 

tide, n 

:s of length 

and area will be considered, those of capacity 

times, there were a bewildering array of measures for 
length and superficial area, often with the same name 
but differing locally in size and extent. As Lane 
despairingly noted, "Of the measures and weights 
used in Egypt I am not able to give an exact account; 
for, after diligent search, I have not succeeded in fin- 
ding any two specimens of the same denomination 
perfectly agreeing with each other, and generally the 
difference has been very considerable" (The manners 
and customs of the modern Egyptians, Appx., "Egyptian 
weights and measures"). Measures of capacity and 
weight, being much more intensively used in every- 
day commercial transactions, tended to be more 
closely defined and regulated either by the governing 
authority or by the local market inspector or muhtasib 
[see hisba]; those of length and area were more the 
concern of the officials making cadastral surveys for 
taxation puposes [see kanun. ii. Cadaster] or else 
estimating the value of growing crops (takhmin), 
especially for the type of tax collection involving a 
share-out of the crop (mukasama) [see kharadj. I]. 

(a) The basic measures of length related, as in 
many other cultures, to various parts of the body and 
positions of the limbs. An isba c [q.v.] "finger" was the 
breadth of the middle joint of the middle finger, con- 
ventionally 1/24 of the dhird c [q.v.] or cubit, itself 
originally the length of the arm from the elbow to the 
tip of the middle finger. The kabda "fist's width" was 
the breadth of the four fingers of one hand put 
together. The shibr "span" was the span of the hand, 
from the thumb to the little finger. The bd c or kama 
was the width of the two arms outstretched, i.e. a 
fathom, canonically equal to four dhird < s. The kasaba 

"pole, shaft" equalled a number of dhira^s varying 
between five and eight, but giving an average length 
of four m. In the Persian lands, the gaz was the 
equivalent of the Arabic dhirS-; in the 17th century, 
Chardin stated that the "royal" gaz, gaz-i shdhi, was 
"trois pieds moins un pouce", i.e. 94.745 cm., and it 
seems to have been on average 95 cm. In 1926, soon 
after Rida Shah Pahlavi's accession to the throne, an 
attempt was made to equate the traditional Persian 
measures with the metric system, so that the gaz was 
fixed at 1 m; and after 1933, the metric system was 
introduced, the older measures nevertheless remain- 
ing in popular use. 

(b) The basic measure of area in earlier Islamic 
times was the djarib, which, as well as being a measure 
of capacity for grain, etc., equal to four kafizs [see 
makayil wa-mawazin], became a measure of surface 
area, originally the amount of agricultural land which 
could be sown with a djarib's measure of seed. The 
extent of the djarib of area varied widely. Canonically, 
it was made up of 100 kasabas, hence approx. 1,600 
m 2 . In Fars, this was known as the "small dearth", the 
"large djarib" being 5,837 m 2 , but in later mediaeval 
times, the djarib of the Persian lands was by the 
11th/ 17th century reduced to 958 m 2 . In modern 
Iran, since 1926, the djarib has equalled one hectare, 
but in local usage, the djarib can still represent an area 
ranging from 400 m 2 to approx. 1,450 m 2 . This 
reflects in part farming practice, a djarib of unirrigated 
land being larger in area than one of irrigated land, 

irrigated land is greater than that sown over unir- 
rigated land. 

In Egypt, the standard measure of land has been 
the/adddn "yoke of oxen" (pi. fadadin), defined by al- 
Kalkashandl [q. v. ] (9th/ 1 5th century) as equalling 400 
square kasabas, i.e. 6,368 m 2 . The official reckoning of 
this measure decreased from the equivalent of 1 1/10 
English acres to less than one acre (1 acre = 0.4046 
hectare). Since 1830, the faddan has corresponded to 
4200.833 m 2 (1.038 English acres). 

In the Turkish lands of the Ottoman Empire, and 
the Arab lands of c Irak, Syria and Palestine directly 
under Ottoman rule till 1918, the standard measure of 

the area which originally was considered to equal one 

day's ploughing. In Turkey it equalled 939 m 2 (i.e. 

approx. 1,000 sq. yards), but the "new" (yeni) dbnum 

was in the 19th century equated with the hectare; and 

in 1934 the metric system of weights and measures 

was officially adopted by the Turkish Republic. In 

Syria and Palestine in recent times, the dunam is one 

of 1 ,000 m 2 = 0.247 acres, whilst in 'Irak a larger one 

of 2,500 m 2 is used, despite the official adoption in 

c Irak of the metric system in 1931. In any case, in all 

these lands, the traditional measures have remained 

in daily use side-by-side with the newer metric ones. 

Bibliography: Naval Intelligence Division, 

Admiralty Handbook, Syria, London 1943, Appx. G, 

431; Iraq and the Persian Gulf, London 1944, Appx. 

E, 641-2; Persia, London 1945, Appx. C, 600; M.Z. 

Pekahn, Osmanh deyimleri ve terimleri sozlugii, Istanbul 

1946, i, 476; A.K.S. Lambton, Landlord and peasant 

in Persia, London 1953, Appx. II "Weights and 

measures; currency", 405-8; W. Hinz, Islamische 

Masse und Gewichte umgerechnel ins melrische System, 

Hdbuch. der Orientalistik, Leiden 1955, 54-66. 

(C.E. Bosworth) 

2. Muslim India, (a) Measures of length. In 

traveller's accounts, distances are frequently stated in 

"days", marhala: "Fulanshahr is two days' journey 

from Fulananad." The practical convenience of this 

method should not be underestimated; it remains in 
use at the present day for travellers in the high hills 
who may expect to find a shelter, stabling, water and 
possibly even minimal provisions at a convenient end 
of a day's march, whose physical length may be very 
variable depending on the nature of the terrain to be 
crossed. The principle of the convenient day's march 
has of course been a determining factor in the siting 
of saraHs along major-routes [see manzil, sara'i, 
tarik; on the difficulties of interpretation, see 
especially S.H. Hodivala, Studies in Indo-Muslim 
history, i, Bombay 1939, comment on distances in al- 
Istakhrt et alii, 30 ff.). Other travellers, including al- 
Biruni, describe distances in terms of the parasang or 
jarsakh [q.v.], but since al-Birunl uses the term to 
interpret information which he obviously received in 
terms of Hindu units of length, his figures are far from 
reliable (useful discussion in Hodivala, op. cit. , 42-5). 
He and others occasionally use the word mil, the Arab 
mile, which later becomes a source of confusion, as it 
may be used as a synonym of jarsakh; mil rather than 
maHl persists in modern Indian languages for the 
English mile, possibly helped through Portuguese. 

The Hindu unit of distance which misled al-Blrum 
is the Skrt. yodjana "league", a distance of four goruta 
"cow-roar", the length at which a cow's lowing can 
be heard, or kros'a "earshot". The yodjana, later 
djodjan, is rarely used by Muslim writers, but the 
kros'a, later ko's (or the Persian cognate karoh), becomes 
the standard term for describing distance. This has 
been differently reckoned at different periods and in 
different regions and, like the sir and the man [see 

distinction between a larger and a smaller measure, 
the pakka kos and the kalla kos. 

New imperial standards were introduced in the hey- 
day of the Mughals with bewildering frequency, but 
the surviving records, and the references to foreign 
standards, allow a reasonably sure interpretation. 
These standards may be considered under the signifi- 

1. Babur (932-7/1526-30), in a mnemonic rhyme 
under the year 935/1528, establishes that the Indian 
league, kuroh, of 100 "ropes", lanab, each of 40 paces, 
kadam, was thus of 4,000 paces, each being of one- 
and-a-half cubits, kari; a cubit was of six hand- 
breadths, tulam, each of four "hands", elig, each of six 
barleycorns, djaw. He thus refers to Caghatay and 
Persian units, explaining that the kuroh is equivalent 
to a mil (Bdbur-nama, fol. 351a-b). The "hand" is 
evidently a digit in fact. 

A thorough inquiry into the value of both digit and 
hand-breadth was made by Col. J. A. Hodgson, 
Surveyor General of India, in 1843, measuring the 
hands of 76 men twice; the width at the knuckles (the 
root of the fingers) averaged 3.2287* (8.20 cm), and 
that across the mid-joint 3.078* (7.82 ™). These 
averages yielded finger widths of 0.8053* (in reality, 
0.8077*) (205 cm) and 0.769* (1.95 cm) respectively 
(op. cit. in Bibl. , 46 ff.). The former is probably correct 
(see below, 4 and 5), though he took the latter. He 
cited experiments by Halhed in 1824, whereby a digit 
of six barleycorns arranged breadthways was found to 
be 0.7766* (1.97 cm) (ibid., 49-50). 

Babur's cubit, if we take the hand width at the 
knuckles, would be 19.37*(49.20 cm), the pace 29.06* 
(73.80 cm), the cable 96 10.3* (29.52 m), and the 
league 3228*2'l.2* (2,952 m). 

2. Sh8r Shah (947-52/1540-45) and HumayQn 
(937-47, 962-3/1530-40, 1555-6). Sher Khan fixed the 
kos, or league, at 60 djarib, each of 60 sikandari gaz; this 
gaz [q.v. in Suppl.], or cubit, had been introduced by 

Sikandar LodI (894-923/1489-1517), being reckoned 
at 41 H iskandari/sikandan (sc. (anka). This was a round 
billon coin struck in great numbers (Sikandar LodT 
struck in billon only), which continued in circulation 
well into Mughal times; its average diameter was 0.7" 
(1.78 cm); a half-tanka of 0.55* (1.40 cm) was also 
known, with quarter and eighth tankas known in small 
numbers. (H.N. Wright, Coinage and metrology of (he 
sultans of Dehli, Delhi 1936, 250-4, 260-1). Humayun 
is reported to have added half an iskandari (half the 
diameter of an iskandan, or the diameter of a 
ha\f-(anka?) to the length of the gaz, bringing the 
number to 42. Thus HumayGn's cubit would be of 
29.4" (74.67 cm). However, the remark in the A 'in-i 
Akbari, iii, 296, that this length was equivalent to 32 
angusht, "fingers'-breadth") would lead to an 
impossibly large angushl of 0.92" (2.34 cm); if, how- 
ever, the diameter of the halftanka (0.55 ) be taken, 
the angushl would be of only 0.72", too small (and in 
any case the half-fanfcj could not have been referred to 
as an iskandari). This unsatisfactory explanation must 
be attributed to an error on Abu '1-Fadl's part. 

3. Akbar (963-1014/1556-1605). At his accession, 
three parallel systems were in use throughout Hin- 
dustan. In each the cubit, gaz, was of 24 digits, tassudj, 
but the latter were designated long, medium, or short 
(dardz, miyana, kutdh) according to whether they 
equalled 8, 7, or 6 barleycorns placed breadthways. 
The first was used in surveying land, the second in 
building, and the third for furniture and soft goods 
(A^in, iii, 294). They were thus related in principle to 
the dhita'- al-sharHyya of 24 digits, which is occasionally 
referred to in India. The iskandan gaz was retained for 
agriculture and building, and an akbar -shdhi gaz of 46 
angusht was used for cloth (AHn, iii, 296; cf. i, 170-1). 
In the 19th year of the Divine Era (1575), Akbar had 
a new standard pole, djarib, made up of canes joined 
by iron rings, to obviate the moisture movement 
which made the hemp cable unreliable. On 22 Rabl c 
II 996/21 March 1588 he introduced his new standard 
gaz, to be known as the gaz-i ilahi, of 41 digits, to 
replace all others; this appears to have been 32.82 
(83.36 cm), about the same as 41 of Hodgson's larger 
digits. He then re-established the land measure, the 
tanab, at 60 of these new gaz; the squared area was 
known as a bigha (A^in, iii, 296). Subsequently, how- 
ever, the kuroh is defined as of 100 tanab each of 50 ildhi 
gaz; the resulting 5,000 ilahi gaz could also be 
measured with 400 poles, bins, each of 12|/ 2 gaz: it 
seems that a further revision had taken place (A 3 fn, iii, 

4. Djahanglr (1014-37/1605-27) in turn revised the 
scale, making the ilahi gaz of 40 digits, and the gaz-i 
sharH of 24; he used the terms gaz and dir c a (sic) inter- 
changeably. In his memoirs he states that the kuroh 
used in his reign was the same as that of Akbar, and 
that like it, it was of 5,000 dir'a (Tdzuk-i Djahdngiri, 
298, cf. 234). The gaz itself must therefore have 
remained unchanged. His purpose in altering the 
number of digits is clear in his practice of giving small 
measurements in quarters, pa or paw, and eighths, 
nim-pdw of a cubit: he had simply found the 41 digits 
indivisible. Measurements given for buildings at 
Fathpur Sikri, when compared with their present 
dimensions, suggest values for the gaz of between 30" 
(76.2 cm) and 32" (81. 3 cm)— the lower values, being 
taken from longer measurements, are subject to 
greater error. Experiments in measuring the intervals 
between the kos mindrs, as reported by Elliot (op. cil. in 
Bibl, 194-6), gave an average of 4,558" (4,167.83 m) 
along the road, which at 5,000 gaz to the kos yields a 
gaz of 32.818" (83.35 cm). A gaz was also divided into 
i6 girih (Tuzuk, 175). 

5. Shah Djahan (1037-68/1628-57). Under the year 
1046/1636-7, c Abd al-Hamid Lahawri states that all 
measurements are given in a dhird^-i padshaht of 40 
angusht (Bddshdh-ndma, i/2, 237). Muhammad Tahir 
confirms that the kuruh-i padshaht is of 200 djarib, the 
djarib of 25 dim* (sic), and these each of 40 angusht. 
(Mulakhkhas, fol. 107a). Thus it appears either that the 
value of the djarib had been halved or that it was no 
longer synonymous with the tanab. As Tahir refers 
later to the djaribi kos, it seems the latter is probable. 
This explains why the rods in Akbar's reign were of 
12 1/2 gaz, as half a djarib: it seems that the tanab con- 
tinued to be associated with the old multiple of 60. An 
English letter from Agra dated 24 April 1647 explains 
that the Agra cubit had been shortened by 2.5%, or 
1/3 girih, to conform with the Lahawr cubit, by royal 
decree. The Lahawr unit must be the dhird c -i pddshdhi, 
and the Agra cubit must be Akbar's ilahi gaz: the dif- 
ference represents a reduction from 41 to 40 digits 
(Moreland, op. cit. , 102). A second letter of 6 January 
1648 refers to an Agra cubit, presumably the 
reformed unit, as 32" (81.28 cm) long (Foster, 1646- 
50, 122, 190). In this case the old Agra cubit would 
be 32.82"/83.36 cm). Tavernier printed a scale (op. 
cit., ii/2, 236) which shows that the Surat cubit was 
27.30" (69. 34 cm), thus tending to corroborate Fryer's 
28" (7 1 . 1 2 cm); another English letter of 1 2 November 
1645, before the reform, equates 10.5 Agra giri h with 
19 Surat tassudj, so that from Tavernier's scale the 
Agra cubit can be calculated as 32.99" (83.79 cm), not 
far from the values established above (Foster, 1642- 
45, 299-300). Hodgson, with the measurement across 
the knuckles, had arrived at an ilahi gaz of 33.018" 
(83.86 cm); his measurements at the Tadj Mahall and 
other buildings of this reign in Agra, when referred to 
figures in the Shdh-Dxahdnndma of Muhammad Salih, 
suggested a djird'-i pddshdhi of 31.79" (80.75 cm) 
(Hodgson, 50-3: he was mistaken in thinking this 
cubit to be of 42 digits). These royal works were 
apparently measured in the new unit, regardless of the 
conservatism of the merchants in the same city. Shah 
Djahan's reform can only be explained as an attempt 
to combine the advantage of a division into 40 units 
with Akbar's, rather than DjahangTr's, digit. This 
may have been because the latter had proved larger 

As well as the variations of the kos to the smaller 
units within the Mughal heartland, provincial stan- 
dards also varied. The kos in use m Malwa was of 90 
lanabs of 60 gaz, according to the A >in-i Akbari; in Yule 
and Burnell, Hobson-Jobson, London 1886, with 
Crooke's additions of 1902, the estimated k6s in the 
Bengal Presidency was "about 2 miles, much less as 
you approach the N.W."; in the upper [Ganges- 
Djamna] Do'ab 1 1/4 miles, in Bundelkhand "nearly 
3m or ... even 4", in Madras 2 1/4, and a sultani kos 
in Mysore "about 4 miles". The terms tanab and 
djarib seem to have become interchangeable, although 
obviously variable in terms of the gaz, variable itself. 
The determination of the Mughal "imperial" gaz 
became a matter of concern to the British when their 
own revenue surveys were begun in the first quarter 
of the 19th century; results were so discrepant that an 
arbitrary value of 33 inches (= 83.82 cm) was 

It should be noted that the 
cubit" is occasionally used, with 
by Indian Muslim authors, either for the gc 

dh,rd< [qv. 

'hand", the dist; 
top of the middle finger, 
measure (Buchanan's Easi 
Jobson, s.v. Haul); but the 
the gaz in the form of 

n the elbow and 


quarters. This implement was certainly still in use in 
Lucknow in 1955. 

(b) Measure of an area. The units of area 
measurement for land were mostly the bigha and its 
twentieth part the biswa. The bigha again varied con- 
siderably by region, with the usual distinction of kaccd 
and pakkd (some examples in Jarrett's footnote to the 
term tandb in his tr. of A >in-i Akbari, ii, 61). Again 
Akbar's regulations of the 31st regnal year provide a 
point of reference: he fixed the bigha as a square ajarib, 
i.e. 60 x 60 Ildhigaz, directing that for measurement 
purposes the old hempen tandb, lit. "tent-rope" of 
sixty gaz be replaced by a djarib of bamboo rods joined 
by iron rings — the former having lent itself too easily 
to fraud by being left out to collect the dew and there- 
fore shrinking from 60 gaz to as little as 56; this could 
cause a mismeasurement of up to thirteen bigha in a 
hundred (one madad-i ma'dshfarmdn of 989/1581, doc. 
1 in B.N. Goswamy andJ.S. Grewal, The MugUs and 
thejogis ojjakhbar, Simla 1967, equates 200 bighd-hy- 
the-hemp-rope with 170 AigAa-by-the-bamboo, a dif- 
ference of 15%). This standardised "imperial" bigha 
of 3,600 ildhi gaz was therefore (at the rate of the gaz 
as calculated above) 0.5427 acres = 0.2196 ha. (in the 
British revenue surveys, taking the gaz as 33 inches, 
the bigha was fixed at 5/8 acre = 0.253 ha.). The biswa 
was thus of 131.33 sq. yds. - 109.8 sq. m.; a smaller 
measure, the biswdnsd, one-twentieth of the biswa, is 
also mentioned by Abu '1-Fadl, who states that 
anything under the biswdnsd was ignored for revenue 
purposes. Three smaller divisions by twenties are 
mentioned, which would seem to be of no practical 
account. Local units are occasionally encountered in 
farmdns, such as the Pandjab kandl, a quarter of a bigha, 
or ghumd^o, generally 8 kandh in the Pandjab but as lit- 
tle as one-fifth of a bigha elsewhere in north India, and 
in the extreme east and north-east, the hdllhdr of some 
7 to 8 bigha. 

Bibliography: Primary sources: Zahlr al-DIn 
Muhammad Babur, Bdbar-ndma, facs text ed. A.S. 
Beveridge, Leiden and London 1905; Abu '1-Fadl 
b. Mubarak, c AllamI, AHn-i Akbari, ed. H. 
Blochmann, Calcutta 1872; Nur al-DIn Muham- 
mad Djahangir, Tuzuk-i Diahdngiri. ed. Syud 
Ahmud, Allygurh 1864; c Abd al-rlamld Lahawrl, 
Bddshah-ndma, ed. W. Nassau Lees el alii, Calcutta 
1867; Muhammad Tahir, Hnayat Khan, 
Mula khkh as (as Shdh-Djahdn-ndma), B.L. ms. Or. 
175. Coins: Shamsuddin Ahmad, Supplement to 
volume II of the catalogue of coins in the Indian Museum, 
Calcutta, Delhi 1939, 19; H.N. Wright, Coinage and 
metrology of the sultans of Delhi, Delhi 1936, 250-4; 
idem, Catalogue of the coins in the Indian Museum, 
Calcutta, Oxford 1913, 80-3, nos. 603-5. Earlier 
discussion of these measurements is to be found in 
J. Prinsep, Useful tables, forming an appendix to the 
J.R.A.S., Calcutta 1834, i, 87-92; J.A. Hodgson, 
Memoir on the length of the ilahee guz, in JRAS, vii 
(1843), 42-63; Sir H.M. Elliot, Supplement to the 
glossary of Indian terms (compiled in Agra by H.H. 
Wilson), Agra 1845, 194-6, 406; idem, Memoirs on 
the history... of the North-Western Provinces, 2 vols., 
revised edn. J. Beames, London 1869; Wilson, A 
glossary of judicial and revenue terms of British India, 
London 1875; Yule and Burnell, Hobson-Jobson, s.v. 
Beegah, Coss, Gudge; W.H. Moreland, The Mogul unit 
of measurement, inJRAS(1927), 102-3 (printed 120!); 
Irfan Habib, The agrarian system of Mughal India, 
Bombay etc. 1963. Foreign reports are given in 
Sir W. Foster, The English factories in India 1646-50, 
Oxford 1914, 122, 190, and idem, 1642-45, Oxford 
1913, 299-300; J.-B. Tavernier, Les six voyages, 

Paris 1679-82, ii/2, 236. More detailed discussion 
of the same topic may be found in PA. Andrews, 
ch. Linear measurements under the Moghuls, in The felt 
tent in Middle Asia, London Ph.D. thesis, 1980, 
unpubl., ii, 1022-37. 

(J. Burton-Page and P. A. Andrews) 
3. Finally, one should note that the word misdha is 
also used as a technical term of the financial 

such, but also the land-tax [see kharadj] 
calculated, probably on the Byzantine model accord- 
ing to the surface area of the cultivated lands, or else, 
perhaps on the Sasanid model, according to the sur- 
face area adjusted in regard to the nature of the soil, 
methods of irrigation and, in general, yield. 

Bibliography: F. Lokkegaard, Islamic taxation in 

the classic period, Copenhagen 1950, 103 ff.; CI. 

Cahen, Makhzumiyydt, Leiden 1977, p. [200]. 


MISALLA (a., pi. masdll), lit. "large needle", 
obelisk. The mediaeval Arab authors speak with awe 
of the wondrous two obelisks of c Ayn Shams [q.v.], 
Heliopolis, the old Egyptian On. Al-MakrizI (Khitaf, 
ed. G. Wiet, vol. iv, ch. lxvi, § 1, p. 89) gives the 
biblical name Ra c amsas, and Abu Dja'far al-ldrlsl 
(Anwar '■ulwi al-adjrdm fi 'l-kashf '■an asrdr al-ahrdm, ed. 
U. Haarmann, Beirut 1990, 80, 1. 5) the variant 
Ra'amsls, for the ancient city which is occasionally 
(Ibn Dukmak, Intisdr, v, 43 ult.) identified with the 
village al-Matariyya. The two obelisks had formed 
part of the vast sun temple (haykal al-shams) already in 
ruins when the Arab conquerors arrived in Egypt. 
Different lexical terms are used to introduce the 
obelisks: the early Muslim geographers Ibn Khur- 
radadhbih (161, 11. 5-9) and Ibn Rusta (80, 11. 9-13) 
speak of "columns" (ustuwdnatdn'). Numerous later 
authors (Abu c Ubayd al-Bakri, al-Kuda c i, Abu 
Dja c far al-ldrlsl, Yakut, Ibn Sa c Id al-Maghribl, al- 
Makrlzl, Ibn Dukmak and Abu Hamid al-Kuds!) 
simply denote them as "pillars" (ahnida, c amuddn'), 
whereas al-Mukaddasi (210; cf. A. Miquel, L'Egypte 
vue par un geographe arabe: al-Muqaddasi, in AI, xi 
[1972], 134), the Iranian traveller Nasir-i Khusraw, 
in his description of his visit to the bdgh-i Fir'awn